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Contract Impasse Draws Protest

School District ‘Hopeful’ for Near Future Settlement

Massapequa High School was the scene of a protest rally as up to 100 CSEA union members lent their support to the custodial unit serving the Massapequa School District.

The custodians have been working without a contract for almost three years, as no new contract has been finalized since the old one expired. CSEA officials noted that the most tentative agreement offer was rejected in 2009 and that the school district has not moved on from that bargaining position. A CSEA newsletter further states that Massapequa workers are “among the lowest paid in the district,” with their wages frozen at June 2007 levels. CSEA officials also claimed that both the school district’s fund balance and unreserved fund balance have increased since 2007, thus making a settlement more realistic.

Among those participating in the rally were CSEA members from Nassau Municipal Employees Local 882, Oyster Bay Town Local 881, Suffolk Educational Local 870, Nassau Educational Local 865, Long Island Developmental Center Local 430, Nassau County Local 830, and Suffolk Municipal Employees Local 852.

Officials with the school district expressed some confidence in seeing resolution in the impasse.

“The school district is continuing to work cooperatively with the custodial unit to address unresolved issues and we are hopeful for a settlement in the near future,” said Alan Adcock, assistant superintendent for business, in a released statement.

The school district recently saw its 2010-2011 budget approved in the May 18 vote by a healthy 3,245 to 2,621 margin. That budget, which totaled $176,172,498 in spending, represented a slight 2.48 percent over last year’s budget.

In promoting the budget, school officials claimed that they used up to $3.1 million from its Fund Balances and Reserves, plus the rental monies from two buildings and an Administrative Efficiency Award to keep tax increases to a minimum.

While drafting the budget, school district officials said that they had to deal with the negative impact the proposed state budget would have on Massapequa’s own budget. Mandated retirement costs, they said, would increase by $2.5 million, while the state aid cut could amount to $3,260,692. Unfunded mandates amount to nearly $17 million, with the bulk of that coming from the New York State Retirement System and Pupil Transportation.