Friday, 26 March 2010 00:00
After two years of collective bargaining, the Roslyn Board of Education and Roslyn Teachers Association have agreed to the terms of a new agreement. The four-year contract, school district officials said, contains terms that will yield significant savings for local taxpayers, promote instructional progress and enhance collaboration among the district’s education professionals.
Teachers have been working under the terms of the previously expired contract since the beginning of the 2008-09 school year. The new agreement covers the school years 2008-09 through 2011-12. The average salary schedule increase over the four years of the contract will be 1.525 percent, including a zero percent increase in the upcoming 2010-11 school year. In addition, teachers will receive no step (longevity) increases until the middle of 2010-11, effectively freezing salaries for 18 months from the beginning of the current school year until the middle of next year. This has resulted in a reduction of $1 million in the proposed school budget for 2010-11, school district officials added.
“While this was certainly a lengthy and at times difficult negotiations process, it was also a collaborative one,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Brenner. “Both sides came to the table fully aware of the increased burden on the taxpayers and of the fiscal crisis that the state and nation are facing, and were prepared to make concessions in light of that reality. Both sides also focused intently on educational objectives. The agreement clearly represents an important step forward in the relationship between the Board of Education, administration and teachers.”
Dr. Brenner emphasized that the zero percent increase in 2010-11 is a sign that both the Board of Education and the teachers association understand that the upcoming school year will likely be the most challenging one of the current recessionary period, and that taxpayers expect the district to take meaningful steps to control expenses.
Board of Education President Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy said, “No one in the process lost sight of our primary objective, and that is to provide an excellent, quality educational environment, both for those who learn in it and those who teach in it in a way that makes sense for our community in the current economic environment. I believe that we have accomplished our need-based goals in certain key areas both educationally and financially.”
In addition to the salary savings achieved by the District, the following goals were accomplished as a result of the negotiations:
• The elementary school day will be lengthened by 20 minutes, adding one hour and 40 minutes of instructional time per week.
• A revised elementary schedule will allow greater flexibility and efficiency in the assignment of teachers.
• The teacher observation process was modified as sought by the district.
• The contract provision anchoring teachers’ salaries to third place in Nassau County was deleted from the agreement.
• Contributions for medical insurance will increase from the current 12 percent to 20 percent by the final year of the contract, which, when fully implemented, will save the district approximately $600,000 per year.
• The number of longevity steps was reduced for all newly hired teachers from 30 to 25.
• Sick leave allocation for new employees has been substantially reduced.
• Leave time provided for the adoption of a child was modified.
• Contributions to the Benefit Fund are frozen for three (3) years with a modest increase in year four.
• Teachers returning to teach in the Summer Academic Program will face an immediate 25 percent reduction in pay; new teachers in the program will be paid a lower starting salary, which will be capped after five years of working in the program. Projected savings for the district in 2010 will be $75,000.
A ratification vote was held by the teachers on March 17, and the Board of Education ratified the Memorandum of Agreement by a vote of 7-0 at its meeting on March 18.