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Port Chester Teachers: We're Ready To Commit To A Fair Contract

Union calls leaks about negotiations harmful.

Port Chester teachers, who have been without a contract since June 30, 2011, say they understand the tough financial problems faced by their district and are ready to commit to a fair contract.

However, the Port Chester Teachers Association also said today that leaks about contract negotions have been harmful and misleading.

"The Port Chester TA is acutely aware of the financial difficulties faced by virtually all the school districts in New York State, and particularly those here in Port Chester," said Port Chester Teachers Assciation President Linda O'Connor.  "Throughout the process of negotiations, we have stood ready to commit to a contract that makes sense for all parties concerned: one that not only alleviates the financial strains of the district, but that also compensates the hard-working employees of the district as well, so that the children of Port Chester may continue to receive the excellent education to which they are entitled.  We remain committed to the process of bargaining in good faith, and we remain ready to commit to a fair contract."

O'Connor said negotiations can only succeed when both sides are committed to respecting the very process of bargaining a contract in good faith. She said teachers have been disappointed by a recent series of leaks about negotiations and sugged those leaks are jeopardizing any new deal that might be possible. 

"It is certainly tempting to respond to such tactics by clarifying the misinformation that is currently permeating the press, and engaging in our own process of leaking information that is confidential and that should be confined to the negotiating table," O'Connor said. "The association will nevertheless continue to bargain in good faith, respecting the confidentiality of the process, and will hope that the district chooses the same path, going forward."

Juan Jose Chajon March 24, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Mrs O'connor. Thank you for talking to us. I want to let you know that the parents from Port Chester will support their teachers an any fair negotiation with the district showing how grateful we feel for the education our kids are receiving and the hard work they do under the presents circumstances. However, it is hard for us to understand why you have not put to vote the option to move to one carrier? Something else that confuses me is when you refer to the press leak, is it about the insurance vote that you consider that can jeopardize the negotiations? and when you said that some teachers are disappointed because this leak; when many of their co- workers are about to be fire and the community is being asked to vote to increase their taxes one more time or lose programs. You can make the difference and remove the cloud from above you. Changing carrier it is something that millions of Americans has to do every year and others don't even have insurance. Don't wait for Albany to make the move, do the right thing as a act of good faith and you will have our gratitude and support with the continuing negotiations for a fair contract. Thank You
JJ March 24, 2012 at 01:41 AM
I wish the Teachers well but I'd be interested to see "what a fair contract is". WE ARE OUT OF MONEY; WHO DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THAT?
Bob March 24, 2012 at 10:28 AM
I agree with JJ. For years salaries and benefits have risen in all public sector unions far more than the private sector. I ask, what is fair? What I think is fair is for all public sector unions salaries and more inportantly benefits get in line with the private sector mean. When uniuons can pad their retirements the last 3 yrs with ovetime getting much more than they would normally, that isnt fair. The state finally took a minor step to correcting that. When unions contribute far less to retirement and benefits than the private sector that isnt fair. I was in the corporate world for 40 yrs and managed a large number of people. If some don't produce they may not get a raise the following year, if they did a great job they get a raise and maybe a bonus. Thats how it should be in the public sector
JJ March 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM
With all due respects; once again can anyone tell us / publish what percentage of PC Teachers reside in Port Chester ? I'm NOT making a point or anything but I'd like to know if those statistics exist please. I'm pretty sure you can ask the same thing for the Police NOT the FD. Just asking.
PC Lover March 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Linda you said a whole lot of nothing. You are apparently more concerned with the confidentiality of the negotiations than of the fact that the school district is slipping down the toilet and that some of your members and co-workers have a hatchet over their heads. Equally sad, some of our neccessary, needed, and loved programs face similar demise because of your disregard for the facts before your eyes. Here's a news flash for you...YOU WORK FOR US! Our hard earned big fat swollen enormous painful-like-a-stick-in-the-eye taxes pay your salary! Oh yeah...and by the way....WE HAVE NO MORE MONEY! Are you getting this? Hello, Earth to Linda! I, for one, would like to see a heavy handed "lesson plan" doled out to these ninnies who think they can hold us hostage...like Ronald Reagan taught the air traffic controllers in 1981 when they got stupid too. Most of the PC teachers I know are as bewildered as the rest of us as to the machinations of the teachers union which apparently wants to take us all with them to hell in a handbasket in the quickest possible way. Wake up and smell the reality!
FJT March 24, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Thank you, PC Lover. You certainly said it clearly. WE HAVE NO MORE MONEY! Property owners in PC have been taxed beyond the point of exasperation and are well aware of the fact that -- even if they own their own homes free-and-clear of any mortgages -- they could easily lose them to the "tax man". The exorbitant, ever-increasing school taxes that we pay in this community are an obscenity. How many people have been driven out of this community due to school taxes? How many feel powerless thanks to tax increases that are jammed down our throats each year? Personally, I'm sick of grinning politicians and educators who see property owners as "milk cows". Here's a news flash, the "milk cows" are leaving the barn for greener pastures -- not necessarily because they want to -- but because they're being forced to by grossly excessive taxation. One last point, the fact that giving up the option to choose among three insurance providers would actually be a bone of contention with the teachers' union illustrates perfectly how entitled and out-of-touch the teachers and their union representatives have become. In our continuously declining economy, many of us are being forced to choose between paying our property taxes (so that we can prevent being foreclosed upon) versus health insurance. I can personally attest to that.
Mariaelena March 24, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Mrs O'conner , My kids are in the public school system and so far i have not had any major compliants about the teachers they have had. P.C does have many great teachers BUT we do not have any more money !! I am also a homeowner who does not want taxes to be raised .And i am saddened by all the programs that will be cut and by all the lay-offs of great teachers and school nurses that are being made. So PLEASE try to take into consideration the parents ,kids and homeowners of P.C when neogotiationating a "FAIR CONTRACT" it's all in the UNION'S hands to try to save these programs,especially Kindergarden, and jobs. Let's not be greedy ! Thank you
Blogger March 24, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Ms. O'Connor states above "It is certainly tempting to respond to such tactics by clarifying the misinformation that is currently permeating the press, and engaging in our own process of leaking information that is confidential and that should be confined to the negotiating table." This is crazy talk. First, WHAT MISINFORMATION? To allude to misinformation but not clarify is in itself MISINFORMATION. Second, WHAT NEGOTIATING TABLE? When negotiations are completely stalled out, then there is no table. The teacher's union needs to get a grip on reality. Ms. O'Connor owes her rank and file a few explanations. If she refuses to give any, the rank and file needs to realize that they are being led by a dictator whose only goal is to protect her triple health benefit options and Triborough raises. Unfortunately, these benefits mean nothing when you are out of a job.
Bill Payor March 24, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Good schools attract young, growing families. Underfunded school systems act as a red flag deterrent for parents opting out of expensive private schools in NYC and elsewhere nearby. CT's gold coast, etc. Real estate sales abound in communities where all children have an opportunity to have special needs addressed. Port Chester schools can easily fall into a less desirable real estate market all too quickly with deteriorating schools and better chances just minutes away. Many small towns have learned this lesson all too well...and the evidence abounds.
JJ March 24, 2012 at 07:46 PM
"Good schools attract young, growing families. Under funded school systems act as a red flag deterrent for parents opting out of expensive private schools in NYC and elsewhere nearby". Bill............very sound reasoning. The factors here are: 1. Overpopulated areas within Port Chester that are collapsing the infrastructure 2. Union demands in economically troubled times 3. An aging population of home owners who are sometimes living pillar to post 4. The unmitigated demands that taxpayer's support an already overtaxed area and the people residing here who ARE NOT paying their FAIR share of taxes. 5. The BLIND acceptance of MASSES of people that other communities have dumped & Continue to dump on Port Chester 6. Years of "blind eyes" in the Building & Code Departments 7. Years of back room deals where a "few" building contractors have been treated like royalty and NOW run the village like it's a feudal community. YOUR POINTS ARE WELL TAKEN SIR.
reality4PC March 24, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Let's be clear - this is not an attack on the hard working teachers of this district, but on their union leadership that is not budging. It seems that the district has all the pieces in place for this budget except for teacher contracts. I can't understand why their union leadership is not willing to negotiate when members of their own unit are practically begging them to do so. Teachers want to do the right thing and do their part to help our district, but this message falls on deaf ears. Let's see what happens next - does the union leadership call for a meeting to negotiate or are they going to do something to try to take the pressure off of them by having people focus on Albany. Sad to say, but I don't think that money the district may receive from the state will be enough to fund proposed cuts. We need the union to do their part and chip in. Time is ticking....
willie vega March 24, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Don't the teachers understand that you can not receive a raise each and every contract? I'm in a NYC. labor union, and we just finished the first year of a four year contract, and we went with no increase first year. Then we cut contributions to our medical, and we arent crying.
PC Fan March 25, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Agreed, Reality4PC. Is the Ms. O'Connor waiting to see what (if any) additional aid is received before negotiating? If this is the case, I just don't get it. We can't count on Albany, that's out of our control. The teachers ARE in control here...whatever the real details on the negotiations are, just talk. Negotiate. Get SOMETHING done. The future of our schools shouldn't be subject to a game of political chicken.
Blogger March 25, 2012 at 05:23 PM
@willie vega - True, but it sounds like the Board of Education is actually offering a 1% raise to the teachers for three years, if it is true that the offer "not being discussed" matches that just given to the administrators. If the teachers' union wants to turn their nose up at a 1% raise for the next years, they truly need a reality check. Would they prefer no increase at all? Plenty of people in this community are living with salary cuts, not increases.
willie vega March 25, 2012 at 06:40 PM
There is a web site that was published here on Patch, that shows the poor overworked salaries of the P.C.teachers.For a 180 day work year, most are over $80,000. Let's remind them that most two wage earning P.C.homeowners/ taxpayers would love to switch places with them. I'll even take one of those medical plans.Come on taxpayers ,UNITE show the POOR teachers union that we are MAD AS HELL AND NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. A fair contract should be 0% for three years - freeze it across the board. AND LET'S NOT ELECT ANY MORE RETIRED SCHOOL PENSIONERS TO THE SCHOOL BOARD- they have a vested interest in looking out for the RICH TAXPAYER - I think not.
Blogger March 25, 2012 at 06:48 PM
@willie vega - I couldn't have said it better myself!
Conservative NYer March 25, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I, second that! Perhaps a petition should be created. A grassroots efforts by those who just cannot afford the school taxes anymore.
willie vega March 26, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Thank you for agreeing Blogger & Conservative NYer . That would be great to get a petition started. Count me in!
willie vega March 26, 2012 at 12:13 AM
This is for Bill Payor, I agree with you as to good schools bring in good home values, but what is going wrong with P.C.? The amount of homes in foreclose and short sale are taxing the system that should be flourishing because of the great school system we are paying for (blue ribbon and all) I think not. With the medium home price in P.C. around $350000. your school tax bill is at a all time high, but the Village part of the tax should be coming down this year according to Manager Russo. We should of hired him for school Super.
George Datino March 26, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Hey, I think Indiana may have come up with a way for us to solve our overcrowding and budget issue. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/25/austin-carroll-indiana-hi_n_1378250.html?ncid=webmail4 If the PCSD did the same thing, we could probably expel enough students to maybe even close a few buildings!
willie vega March 26, 2012 at 08:00 PM
George, the tax problems are real,lets not kid around as i thought this is a serious form for venting. See if the Senior who has to choose between high school tax bill or a trip to see grandkids in another state thinks that was funny.
George Datino March 26, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Willie, Sorry if my post offended you. I am quite aware that the tax problems are real and I am not as concerned with the Senior who has to choose between paying his/her tax bill and a trip but the Senior who has to choose between paying their tax bill and eating. If you have been following all the articles on this subject, you will have see I have many posts concerning the budget deficit. If you want to see some of them, just click on my name and Patch will display my previous posts.
Aidan March 26, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Here's the website Willie references: http://seethroughny.net/ You can check out the salaries of individual teachers at this site.
PC Lover March 27, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Here's my idea...we spend $17K per student per year in the PC School District. When they catch an illegal apartment sending kids to the school district send that LANDLORD a bill for each kid in the illegal apartment attending Port Chester School District X the number of years that student has been enrolled from that address X $17,000. I wonder how much that would close the budget gap.
John B March 27, 2012 at 01:19 AM
I like it.
George Datino March 27, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Great idea and personally I would double the amount to at least $34,000 (punitive) per kid and make it for every year the kid has attended the school district. Unfortunately, not sure how many illegal aprtements they have been finding and I am not sure that there has been any desire to put in any severe punitive penalties to landlords who get caught.
PC Lover March 27, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Believe me $17K per child multiplied by the number of years the child was enrolled from that "illegal" address is punitive enough. At least then they pay their fair share. As the rest of us are scrambling to avoid cutting programs and laying off staff in the schools while their tenants are receiving FREE (not covered by the appropriate school tax on the property) education on our backs. Level the playing field! Property must pay appropriate proportional school taxes for number of apartments sending children to district whether apartments are legal or not. What say you, Saverio?
JJ March 27, 2012 at 11:57 AM
PC Lover.........100% right! Except , if you enacted this good plan it would interfere with all the landlord scams taking place in Port Chester and that would interrupt the entire HUD Scams here. It's the simple "cause & effect" scenario ; we have too many people living in too few houses. Break that cycle and it'll help eliminate infrastructure problems, crime, EMT & Fire calls, school budgets etc. These are issues that should have been investigated years ago by the Feds. A lot of people made tons of money over the fact that the village LOOKED the OTHER WAY regarding HOUSING ISSUES. We're paying for it now in spades..............
FJT March 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM
"It takes a school to bankrupt a village." -- Bumper Sticker
Blogger March 28, 2012 at 05:30 PM
@FJT - And, it takes a village to bankrupt a school - meaning that while the inequities of the Port Chester tax base attract much speculation, the bottom line is that we need to pass the school budget or we will begin to see a major slide in the academic reputation and future of this village. Don't let our village bankrupt our schools.

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