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S. Huntington Teachers, Board Reach Deal

Teachers union president to outline agreement at hearing.

The South Huntington school district announced Saturday that the teachers union had agreed to a pay freeze and other concessions for next year.

The Board of Education has stated previously that savings from any teachers' contract concessions would go toward restoring educational programs in the district for next year.

Dennis Callahan, president of the South Huntington Teachers Association, will make a statement at Tuesday night's meeting to outline its decision.

"I am pleased that the Teachers' Association and the School District were able to reach a fair contract settlement," Callahan said Saturday. "The settlement is a testament to the commitment of both the SHTA and SHUFSD to make hard choices and to reach a compromise which is in the best interests of the students of South Huntington.  

"I have full expectation that the funds saved by the District will be used to restore academic programs.  I also look forward to the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the South Huntington Teachers' Association and the South Huntington School District."

On April 4, the of more than $142 million but coming in under the state mandated cap forced a decision to make serious cuts for next year, among them, reducing kindergarten to half days and eliminating the middle school sports program.

The move to half-day kindergarten would save the district about $1.1 million but mean that 21 full-time teachers would be forced into part-time status.

Elimination of the middle school sports program, which would be replaced by intramurals, was expected to save about $120,000.

Which programs will be affected by the agreement is unknown. Further details were not immediately available.

The district said Saturday, "A readiness to do what is right for the community is what’s needed most in these difficult times, and the South Huntington Board of Education is very pleased to announce that the teachers union has done just that. The Board of Education has been in negotiations with the teachers union for months, and late-breaking news is that they have agreed to a salary freeze as well as other concessions for next year. "

Tuesday's meeting was originally meant to be a public hearing on the budget, one week before the public vote and election of three school board members. It is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Whitman High School.

Edward Baker May 06, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Kai seems to forget that teachers, like EVERYONE else, have to look out for themselves sometimes. They have expenses just like everyone else. There is nothing wrong w/ making sure that a contract gives something in return for their concessions! Welcome to the wonderful world of negotiations. Maybe, we can take away ALL bargaining units, and let you decide who gets what. We can then call ourselves communists! Wouldn't that be GREAT!??
Kai Y May 06, 2012 at 04:56 PM
If we don't negotiate we are communists? I say let the market decide what the appropriate compensation should be. RIGHT NOW there are over 100 qualified, unemployed teachers standing behind EVERY employed teacher that would accept a a $50K salary, 401k and HMO benefit plan! Sorry - I just call it like I see it. Altruism is certainly dead, but please don't insult my intelligence by playing this off as teachers saving anything but their own --ses.
Kai Y May 06, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Jim - Are you a fan of "An Idiot Abroad"? Your apparent ignorance of other cultures and prejudice to non-eurocentric names taints anything further you may say in this forum.
Marie May 06, 2012 at 05:43 PM
The article doesn't report on the details of the agreement, but I think I would like to say "thank you" to the board and union for making a move that would save programs. Hopefully we will get mandate relief before next year's roller coaster ride.
Joe May 06, 2012 at 06:09 PM
That's a funny comment especially since people in the private industry are largely responsible for the downturn in the economy. Your comment also has curious timing....when this is an article explaining how teachers are clearly taking wage freezes and working the the BOE.
Joe May 06, 2012 at 06:18 PM
People like Kai and Jonathon are not worth the trouble. In an article that explains how teachers are taking wage freezes and less money then they would otherwise have the ability to earn (much of what the public has been clamoring for), the decide to continue to kill teachers. It's as ignorant as the day is long. These type of people won't be happy until teachers are one of the lowest paid professions again. Yeah, Kai, it's easy to say that some of these unemployed teachers would accept a $50K salary and stuff when they currently HAVE NO JOB. Let's ask them that question again when they do get their job back...I'm willing to bet you'd get a different answer. But I applaud your idiocy...it's good for a laugh. THANK YOU TEACHERS!
Edward Baker May 06, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Right now their is 100 people waiting to take over someone who is employed in ANY career. Sorry that teachers who have worked for years make more than new, inexperienced teachers! How bout you give up your job for someone else! You save who you can, and its completely natural to want to save those who are closest to you! Hundreds of businesses are going down by the day, and I don't see anyone taking money out of their pocket to help them. No one is denying that teaching in the public school system is a good gig! Maybe you are forgeting the 10's of thousands of $$ that teachers spent on education. 401K???!! are you kidding me...Have you looked at your 401k lately?? It probably dropped 20-40% in the past two years! I have a neighbor that out of work, so why don't you swing by and giv him some of your paycheck?? Oh thats right....everybody else should give back! Typical....People who make a decent living are to blame for this countries financial woes. I hate to tell you, but this countries problems run far deeper than teachers! Teachers around L. I. have almost all given back, and good for them! It has been a long time coming, but don't vilify them for doing the RIGHT thing for their fellow teachers, students, community and district!
Edward Baker May 06, 2012 at 07:04 PM
There are many teachers who are retiring NEXT year who voted yes for this contract, knowing full well that they would stand to lose over 100k in their retirement. Teachers are like anyone else!! Family comes first, and sorry that they were hesitant to give back over the years w/ the fear that if they did give back, that their families future would be at risk! Last time I checked, contracts were binding!! I don't know many people willing to "open" their contract and take less money. The previous contract ended, and with that came a new one...one that reflected the times in which it was created! There is NOTHING wrong w/ that. In 3 yrs, they will act accordingly as well. Case closed!!!!
Jim R. May 06, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Kai - do you know what "ky" is? Let me google that for you... http://lmgtfy.com/?q=ky Bad joke perhaps on my part. But your post was ignorant and ridiculous, so it might be appropriate. And as far "ignorance of other cultures and prejudice to non-eurocentric names".... my family is of middle eastern decent and english is my second language. So if you want to challenge me on that front, prepare to be embarrassed.
Jonathan Dees May 06, 2012 at 10:08 PM
@Edward Baker - don't give us your contractual mumbo-jumbo business. Unions are killing this country. People in the private sector don't have the luxury of sticking with a binding contract. Unions and contracts are legacy in this world. Teacher's neighbors pay their salaries - we're the stockholders. Unions and contracts are strangling us taxpayers. In the real world, you go out of business if you don't take care of your income statement. You can't keep raising taxes. You have to manage expenses, which is very difficult, given the union environment in this state. It must be stopped. When teachers dig their heals, taxpayers/neighbors bear the burden. If it's all about fairness (as our fearless leader keeps pounding us with), then teachers need to buck up and pay more into their benefits, just like the rest of us, no questions asked.
Edward Baker May 06, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Dig our heals in?? What are you talking about. We agreed to a freeze! Would you like us to go into our bank acct. and give the money back? I agree that what has happened in the past is no longer sustainable, but you must remember that NYSUT and the teachers don't always feel the same way. We simply want to teach, and be able to get a "little" ahead, not to mention that Long Island has a VERY high cost of living. As far as benefits are concerned, most teachers pay 15%. Fine...raise it to 20%. Thats not changing anything. Pensions....I agree. Tier 4 represents the greatest majority of current teachers. I brought up once that all Tier 4's should pay into their pensions for their entire carreer. Guess what...its illegal for that to occur. So, Tier 5 and Tier 6 have to pay into their pensions for their career.
Edward Baker May 06, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Unfortunetly, it will take some time for Tier 5's and 6's to replace the current workforce. Fairness???? What do you live in?? Never, Never Land! Hopefully, you are being sarcastic. Our leader?? Oh boy...you are one of those people. Lets all pool our money together, and start a commune right? We can have a Utopia! Honestly, I don't begrudge anyone for making alot of $$! Godbless them. The more rich people we have the better! Their money is better spent out of the Gov'ts hands. Im a conservative by the way and a teacher in Nassau. I agree w/ the premise, but teachers aren't to blame. Its NYSUT and the politicians who give the world to get elected. Teachers, tax payers, districts, Govt, and bad decisions are to blame. Most teachers want to do whats right, as you can see w/ all of the districts bargaining units FINALLY realizing that it HAS TO STOP NOW!! Let's get past what has already happened and start correcting the mistakes so that this will never happen again! Oh yea,,by the way, I don't know if you know this but most teachers have worked in the "real" world before, and are quite aware of what everyone goes through, so don't make it seem like we ALL are clueless. Just trying to get by and put something together for our families future!
Edward Baker May 06, 2012 at 11:30 PM
One question Jonathan: What would you have the teachers do? Seriously, do you think we run this system? We simply go to work, and try our best!
Jonathan Dees May 06, 2012 at 11:49 PM
EB - I don't begrudge teachers and what they do. But it's not a free market. If it were, taxes on LI wouldn't be so high. People want quality education, and are willing to pay for it. But when times are tough, adjustments need to be made. And you can't make these adjustments with public sector unions without firing people. You sound like you're head is in the right place. I wish most of the union and the leadership thought your way. Tier 5's, tier 6's. This is all bogus. All teachers and public unions need to contribute to their pensions and health care now, not just new hires. I was made to do it a long time ago, as did most private sector workers. It must be done now, or this state will become Greece. Don't take these critiques so harshly. You have to understand where we're coming from. No one wants to lose what they have, but you have to face reality or we're all sunk. Thanks.
Joe May 07, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Yeah Jonathan, we get where you come from...I guess you've forgotten that teachers are tax payers also. And it's hard for people to not take your critiques so harshly when you are clearly biased against teachers...I get that from your lovely opening quote. I love how the focus is pretty much soley on Teachers Unions as if they are the ones destroying our economy. The mortage industry has killed our economy, healthcare has killed our economy, lavish goverment spending has killed our economy, and unions have their hand in it also. Anyone who has bought a house in the past 8 years has had to overpay by a significant amount and healthcare is a joke since 75% of people that go to the ER don't have insurance, but still get the service. There are a lot more problems than just teachers, but sure, lets kill them anyway. I bet all the teachers are sitting in a room right now devising a plan to steal more of YOUR money. The private sector has killed this economy far worse than unions, but I know it's the popular thing to bash teachers these days...so, have at it.
Edward Baker May 07, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Jonathan I agree whole heartedly w/ you, but the fact remains that you cant come up w/ actual changes...can you? WHat Joe said is also correct. If someone could actually lay out a sustainable plan, not half measures, than I will be the first to jump on board, but until that happens I'm going to try and keep what I have. Also, both my wife and I are teachers. My family is affected more than most when these changes occur. Another issue is that most school boards are filled w/ people who aren't qualified to do the job. We are all dependent on their decisions. I applaud their efforts, most times, but non teacher related spending is ridiculous. Districts are like a neighborhood...some spend their money better than others, and we are all feeling the hurt. Don't get me started on NYS board of Ed. haha
Jonathan Dees May 07, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Joe - don't be so sensitive. Everyone wishes they had it as good as teachers, cops, etc. Who wouldn't? When I and everyone else has to pay your salary, we should have more flexibility in how you get paid instead of being held hostage by your union. You can complain all you want about what killed the economy. But when I see how high my property tax bill is and how it goes up more than inflation year after year, something needs to change. That's all I'm saying. Sorry if 75% of my taxes are for schools and it affects you. Maybe that's why the focus in on teachers unions - just guessing......
Jaimie May 07, 2012 at 02:14 AM
What do you mean by "everyone wishes they had it as good as teachers, cops, etc."?
Jonathan Dees May 07, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Jaimie - where to begin? Teachers - Christmas break, winter break, Easter break, summers off, defined benefits plan (pension), very low health insurance contributions, tenure, unionization, etc., etc., etc, Cops - numerous sick days, extremely high pay, padded pensions with maximum OT upon retirement, 20 years and out, unionization, etc, etc. etc, What else more do you want?
Bill May 07, 2012 at 02:39 AM
I am the biggest union critic, but if this is true kudos are in order. Technically, they did not have to do anything and most teachers would benefit forever. True, their backs were against the wall, but if they did do a significant giveback then they earn my respect. Hope it's true!
Joe May 07, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Everyone wishes they had it as good as wall streeters too, but we don't all get what we want. There are pros and cons with every job...and there is a reason why teaching has one of the highest turnover rates. Jonathan, if you wish that you had is as good as teachers and cops...why don't you become one of them and stop your complaining? I mean, if life is soooo good as a cop or a teacher, what's stopping you? And FYI...I'm not a teacher. Nor do I want to be one. I make a good living in the private sector doing what I like to do and not worrying about "how much time off" other professions have. It's funny how your first four points about teachers were about how much time they have off. It's nice to have the freedom to work where I want, doing whatever I want, and having unlimited earning potential. Just some of the advantages of working in the private sector.
Ron May 07, 2012 at 08:50 AM
Teachers approved a 2012-Hard freeze/2013-2%/2014-0% with step/longevity increases.The also get a couple business days added. New hires will pay 20% toward Health Insurance.There were a couple other minor give and takes but it was a fair deal to save full time kindergarten/jobs and classrooms over 30.
Janet May 07, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Where does the re-instating Middle School sports fall with all this? Still think this is important and the long-term effects of not having sports is greater on middle school students than not have full-day Kindergarten is to Kindergarteners... .
Jaimie May 07, 2012 at 11:21 AM
But you are still forgetting something very important- you still have to actually be a teacher or cop to get those benefits. If someone wants those benefits (these aren't secret benefits here), they can easily do so- go become a teacher or cop, don't whine that their job doesn't have the same benefits.
MamaVee May 07, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Jaimie you hit the nail on the head. When my husband started working for the city many years ago - NO one wanted to be a sanitation worker - work in all kinds of weather - rain, snow, frigid temperatures and extreme heat. The pay wasn't great but there was security. The only way they could get workers was to offer benefits. He earned them - and anybody else who wanted to do the job only had to take the test and get on the list. FYI Teachers do not have 40l K's - they have 403 b's - it is their own money - no matching funds by the school district.
Jonathan Dees May 07, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Jaimie - You must have stopped reading my post after second sentence. I have every right to complain about these benefits when I'm footing the bill for 'em. It's like in business - when your competitors get lean and efficient by changing how it pays benefits to employees, it forces your hand to do the same. Don't, then you become extinct. Think about what's happening in Wisconsin. It will happen here in due time. The current situation in NY is not sustainable.
Jaimie May 07, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I'm sure sports will be reinstated- very small line item. However, I am certain that full-day kindergarten (which is just as important to the development of kindergarteners as is sports even though the students themselves might now realize it) will be restored too since that will "preserve"/"restore" (whatever the right word is here) 21 (I think) full-time positions.
Jaimie May 07, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Actually, I read your entire post- while I don't agree with the rest, it's only your opinion so no reason for me to comment on it. It is your overgeneralization that everyone wishes they had it as good as public employees that I think is wrong. I get tired of everyone complaining about the benefits public sector employees receive without seemingly even acknowledging that these people actually perform a job (a hard one at that) in exchange for the benefits. For whatever reason, this seems to get lost in the discussion. No issues ever with you complaining about whatever you want- but I'm not going to get lumped into your overgenralization without having my say either. Would I love to have their benefits- sure, who wouldn't. Do I want to trade places with them to get their benefits- no way.
Judy May 07, 2012 at 06:52 PM
well said, thanks, Marie.
Judy May 07, 2012 at 06:57 PM
It's always easier to scapegoat a specific group rather to to admit that it's the system we have put in place that is the problem. There is a good reason why you don't see small school districts anywhere else in the Country. There is also a good reason why you don't see $400,000+ payouts to Administrators anywhere else in the COUNTRY. Thanks for giving back, we have great teachers and we need to respect each other and see the big picture in order to make real change that benefits all of us.

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