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School Board Calls Special Meeting, Clues Point To Possible Union Deal

Concessions from school unions could help the Port Chester School District balance its budget.

Could Port Chester's principals and managers make a concession to help cover part of the school district's $2.1 million budget gap?

The school board will convene for a previously-unscheduled meeting with the administrators union this afternoon. The meeting agenda references a "collective bargaining unit agreement" but does not include details.

The Port Chester Schools Administrators and Supervisors Association, or PCSASA, has about 15 members and includes principals, assistant principals and directors. It does not include the school superintendent or assistant superintendents, who negotiate separately.

The meeting follows news from last week, when it was revealed that the teachers union declined to act on a that could seal the budget gap. According to the proposal, if teachers agree to use one healthcare provider — instead of the current choice of three — and limit salary raises to one percent over the next three years, the district could avoid cutting jobs, as well as like kindergarten and the Early Learning Center at John F. Kennedy Magnet School.

It's the latter cut that has particularly irked parents and elementary school teachers. If the Early Learning Center becomes a process, about 300 children would be returned to already-overcrowded classrooms at Port Chester's other elementary schools: Edison, Park Avenue and King Street.

On Friday, 30 teachers were told their positions aren't guaranteed for the following year and will be cut if the district doesn't receive from New York State.

Several people familiar with negotiations say the teachers union won't agree to the concessions, and talks are unlikely to progress without the help of a mediator. After last Thursday's story, several teachers contacted Patch and said union leadership has not put the proposals to its membership.

"The fact that people are learning about this from [media] when they're in a unit is just curious," said a school employee.

One parent, who has two children in the district, agreed.

"The teachers may not agree to it anyway, but it should be offered to them, plain and simple," she said.

The scheduled layoffs aren't official until the school board presents its final budget in April. Several dismissed teachers have taken to Facebook and other social media, their dismay mixed with optimism that their jobs could be saved if Albany delivers more state aid to the Port Chester School District. Others have teamed up with parents for and organized lobbying trips to speak to state representatives.

While the teachers have been working without a contract since their last deal expored in June of 2011, the PCSASA contract isn't up until June of this year. That fact, as well as the timing of today's meeting, could signal a deal that includes concessions from principals and managers.

Check back with Port Chester Patch for updates.

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Rick March 14, 2012 at 12:31 AM
The rank and file should be the one to make the decision not the union reps. I understand that reps are looking out for the best interest of the membership, but as a union, they should be trying to keep members ,not let them be laid off. When all school employees( Supers, admin,teachers,and the rest) give a little, then the children will prevail.Lets tell them if they won't change to one health care plan,then they can try another district.
Bob March 15, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Across the nation union salaries and benefits are killing municipalities. They get more money and benefits combined than anything close in the private sector. It is a result of years of unions donating to politicians campaigns who in turn vote for contracts the unbions want, not just teachers. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Taxes in this village are ridiculous and much more has to be done to reduce taxes not keep them steady. Not just school taxes. I feel sorry for the teachers who received pink slips but if the union was innflexible thats the result. I think the board of Ed now realizes how taxpayers feel.
Concerned March 16, 2012 at 12:02 AM
It's funny how everyone's bashing the teachers when they have no idea how much work they do. My wife is a teacher in Port Chester. Her students are a priority. She doesn't work until 3pm, she's always planning at home, grading papers, staying late to meet with parents...her job never ends. It's the ignorance of some people who would rather point fingers than get their facts straight. The teachers of Port Chester are educating our future, caring for your children and going above and beyond for a lower salary than neighboring districts. They do this without ever complaining, despite the horrible things that are being said about them. It's time we all start supporting the hardworking teachers in this district.
Jacklyn Melly March 16, 2012 at 01:26 PM
This is outrageous to hear not to mention unfortunate. Unfortunate to whom, the children who will suffer and the teachers who will be denied to do what they love. How many people you know love their jobs and take the extra yard to further their education, not for themselves only but to be a better teacher & mentor to these kids. Rumor is that teachers get out early and have so many vacation days (what a vacation geared career), but the reality of it is that the majority of these teachers are still working. Teachers should be the last career to be jeopardized! What are next hospitals, day care? Yet, this country has millions of dollars to put up for new stadiums. The system really needs to stop thinking of the quality of life and who suffers behind these outrageous decisions.
Jacklyn Melly March 16, 2012 at 01:30 PM
This is outrageous to hear not to mention unfortunate. Unfortunate to whom, the children who will suffer and the teachers who will be denied to do what they love. How many people you know love their jobs and take the extra yard to further their education, not for themselves only but to be a better teacher & mentor to these kids. Rumor is that teachers get out early and have so many vacation days (what a vacation geared career), but the reality of it is that the majority of these teachers are still working. Teachers should be the last career to be jeopardized! What are next hospitals, day care? Yet, this country has millions of dollars to put up for new stadiums. The system really needs to start thinking of the quality of life and who suffers behind these outrageous decisions.

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