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POLL: Should Port Chester Teachers Agree To Concessions?

A proposal would save more than $2 million, prevent layoffs and prevent the closing of the Early Learning Center at John F. Kennedy Magnet School.

Port Chester schools are $2 million short, and a worst-case scenario involves closing the district's Early Learning Center while laying off almost 50 teachers, secretaries, aides and assistants.

No one knows how the budget crisis is going to play out, but school leaders have three possible options to come up with enough money:

  • Wait for last-minute from New York State
  • Push for a from the
  • Push for a vote to override the two percent tax levy increase cap

Parents, teachers, school board members and taxpayers have been banking on the first option, conducting an aggressive letter-writing campaign over the past three months, with state representatives locally, and even to Albany. Assemblyman George Latimer, who has been Port Chester's primary advocate in Albany, says the state has $250 million set aside for competitive grants. He's calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to use some of that money to help districts like Port Chester.

Option number three is considered so unpalatable, district leaders aren't even talking about it, and Superintendent Edward Kliszus mentioned it almost as an aside during a budget meeting last week. Realtors say few prospective buyers will consider Port Chester, long-time residents say they can't sell their houses, and homeowners are saddled with disproportionately large school tax bills. The lack of a strong commercial tax base, a population that mostly rents, overcrowding in schools and a sizable percentage of immigrants who do not pay taxes are all factors in the squeeze on homeowners.

The third option was revealed last week, when several people familiar with ongoing negotiations told Patch there could be a local solution to Port Chester's school budget woes. A proposal from the Board of Education could plug the budget gap to use one healthcare provider (instead of three currently offered) and to limit salary increases to one percent for each of the next three years. On Tuesday, the and school directors agreed to a similar proposal.

Although the concession from the 15-member principals union will only make a small dent in the deficit, school board members say they hope the agreement will inspire the teachers union — which has more than 300 members — to agree to a similar deal.

John Gibb March 15, 2012 at 12:16 AM
The school board needs to look at the realities of the community as addressed above, lack of commercial taxes,lack of tax paying citizens who only pay rent, and atax rate on home pwners dispropotianate to thier house hold,especially seniors on limited incomes with no kids in school. It doesnt surprize me to hear recent retirees saying they would move out of town if only they could sell thier homes.
Blogger March 16, 2012 at 01:22 PM
This is a non-scientific poll in that anyone can log into repeatedly and vote over and over. I suspect certain entities have figured as much out. I have yet to hear a non-teacher resident of Port Chester state that they would prefer to see Kindergarten cut to half day OR their taxes increased beyond the tax cap in lieu of concessions from the teacher's union. Most Port Chester residents have already experienced everything from job loss to reduction of hours or slashing of benefits in some form in this economy. I would like to hear from the teachers themselves on this issue, with some rationales: how can you sit back and watch the district lose programs and staff, or expect Port Chester taxpayers to make up the shortfall, when you could be part of the solution? Is it "OK" with you that 30 of your colleagues are about to join the unemployment lines? Speak up, teachers. This story doesn't have to have a tragic ending.
Cadeyrn March 16, 2012 at 07:00 PM
"This is a non-scientific poll in that anyone can log into repeatedly and vote over and over." And that's just what's happening.
SN March 17, 2012 at 02:59 PM
This is just the tip of the iceberg... Things will get worse before they get better -for homeowners at least. Renters have the option of leaving PC for other suburban communities. I could leave PC for Greenwich, maybe pay $200.00 more per month in rent, and get all the perks of a millionaire homeowner ;) This school teacher is no fool. This school teacher is also laughing at "blogger." You must be out of your mind if you think any teacher is going to agree to a weak 1% raise. That will not cover the cost for a graduate degree -with interest -while simultaneously enabling the teachers to live their lives like the professionals they are. Maybe the administrators should agree to hefty pay cuts, and perhaps the teachers will consider it.
EV March 17, 2012 at 06:19 PM
In response to SN, I happen to know teachers who are willing to take a 1% increase and be very grateful to still have jobs. I guess you are willing to throw your fellow colleagues under the bus for your comfort? You need a reality check if you think that the economy will not eventually catch up to all of us. Half of America, if not the world has had to make concessions. These are the sign of the times. It is exactly this “what’s in it for me attitude” that the teacher’s union breeds. I could see if these were better times, but the very survival of our schools and the livelihoods of 30 colleagues depend on people caring for people and doing the right thing. This is no time for selfishness. You are not being asked to do something most of us as Americans have not had to do in some form or other. The solution to this problem requires a team effort (everyone giving) and the teachers are a part of this team. If you are unwilling to take a team approach maybe you should find another team. You are right about things not getting better soon. "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not."(The Lorax) I hope to hear from some of the teachers who do care, are willing to give, but have fallen victim to the very union that is suppose to protect them.
Blogger March 18, 2012 at 03:52 AM
@SN - Let me see if I got this right: you expect the district to FUND your graduate degree with padded raises when we are in a severe financial crisis. And you laugh at the idea of doing anything to help save programs and staff in the district in which you work. Clearly you are in it for the money, not the kids. That's pretty sad, especially for PC's kids.
JJ March 18, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Blogger .....you just broke "the code". Stand by for the emotive "it's for the kid's " comments now.
Aidan March 18, 2012 at 11:31 PM
One more time. The entire structure of public education has too many flaws have to be addressed in concert ... or the system will crater. The salary schedule is out of step with current reality. The pension system ... even with the new Tier VI proposal ... is a canard that cannot sustain itself. Special education is now a feature that is disproportionately funded at the expense of serving more students. Albany mandates not only have to cease, many must be repealed. Funding public schools through property taxes is absurd in that less affluent districts have fewer opportunities at greater pain for the homeowners. And last, both state and federal intrusion in local education has been detrimental. All the bucks in the world ... and all the programs ... have not significantly improved performance over the years. It's time to retool. But public education demands the status quo be embraced. It can't. Not anymore. The breaking point has arrived.
Aidan March 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM
he debate you're witnessing here will become a yearly happening. Property taxes have already surpassed the breaking point. Year-to-year financing ... on the basic levels ... is now in jeopardy. The cost of public education has out-paced real inflation for nearly two decades ... and the system has become inured to any suggestions of meaningful reform and restructuring. In addition, the public has asked (demanded?) our schools to become "community centers" ... to, in effect, function as parents. Too much has been added to the schools. The basic mission ... which still has much merit ... has become skewered. Look at what many cite as their reasoning to oppose half-day kindergarten? It will mean child cares services for their youngsters paid by parents. Schools were not designed for this function. The public schools were never designed to become child care centers ... they were designed to educate. Rough? Yes. Life is rough ... and you cannot expect your neighbors to alleviate life's rough spots. This has been a generous community. Now that generosity has been abused. No one can expect never-ending community largesse. At some point, reality has to be faced.
PC Mom March 20, 2012 at 03:44 PM
here is the bigger ? Have the teachers even been offered the proposal as of yet?? Why is the union waiting to give the teachers the proposal? They should be discussing it RIGHT now, not after Albany decided to bail them out or not.
Bea Conetta March 20, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I understand that if the teachers accept the 1% increase, the problem for the BOE would be solved. If they refuse, they will be responsible for the loss of jobs for 30 people. That would be a terrible thing. I do believe that kindergarten should remain a full day. Those little minds are like sponges at this age. and they would have a head-start in learning. To me education is top priority, and I think good teachers are the most important people, because they educate our leaders of tomorrow, Two of my daughters are math teachers and I am very proud of that. My message to any teacher who reads this is to urge your union to go along with the BOE who is trying desperately to solve the money problem. It would only be a temporary thing until the economy turns around. Do the right thing!!!
Born and bred March 20, 2012 at 09:25 PM
It is quite simple. The veteran teachers on the PCTA who are negotiating have no problem eating their young. They don't care about the future the district. These young teachers are coming out of college better than ever and we are going to lose them. The teachers union has recieved proposal and do not want to act. There must be some kind of law that says when a union refuses to negotiate the Triborough Law becomes defunct. If there isn't, it is time to try it in the court of law. Is this not why we have attorneys on retainer. The majority of the teachers have no idea how this will impact them. If the BOE sides with the community and keeps half day kindergarten, guess what happens. More teachers get cut. Say good bye to Art, Home and Career, Tech, Music, and etc. Are these mandated programs, yes, but many districts have cut or reduced them. Watch out teachers. As far as the insurance thing goes, be glad you have it. Many places get one choice. So sit in Open Door downtown all day and you will realize how good you have it. Big deal, you have to change a doctor, have you even investigated if your doctor is on Blue Cross? In most cases in NYS they are. You shoud be embarrased.
Born and bred March 20, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Meant to say goes back to full day kindergarten
JJ March 21, 2012 at 12:20 AM
The veteran teachers on the PCTA who are negotiating have no problem eating their young. They don't care about the future the district. These young teachers are coming out of college better than ever and we are going to lose them. THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT...............
Blogger March 21, 2012 at 03:36 AM
@Born and bred - wise comments indeed. Why are the young teachers who have received pink slips and are in imminent danger of losing their jobs sitting on the sidelines? Rise up. Do not go down without a fight. You paid your union dues; what are you getting for that? Make your case.
Linda Turturino March 21, 2012 at 08:51 PM
what a sad situation here dammed if you do and dammed if you dont and the kids suffer we need to have programs for kids and teens through the schools and Recreation to keep them on tract and busy and not hanging out on a street corner
Sam22 April 28, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Teacher salaries are middle class salaries. Just a reminder to be careful what you choose to destroy.

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