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Ticonderoga school restores teachers

New union deals allow jobs to be reinstated

Ticonderoga Central School District voters approved a 2013-14 $18.5 million budget that cut employees and academic programs in May. Two months later, all programs and most staff have been reinstated.

Ticonderoga Central School District voters approved a 2013-14 $18.5 million budget that cut employees and academic programs in May. Two months later, all programs and most staff have been reinstated.

— Ticonderoga Central School District voters approved a 2013-14 $18.5 million budget that cut employees and academic programs in May. Two months later, all programs and most staff have been reinstated.

The Ti school board voted to restore 20 positions during its July 9 meeting. When the 2013-14 budget was adopted 25 employees were cut, totalling 11.6 full-time equivalent positions.

“Everything is back at 2012-13 levels,” Ti Superintendent John McDonald said, “except two teaching assistants and four retirements we haven’t replaced.”

What happened?

New teacher and non-instructional union contracts, approved after the budget vote, created enough savings to rescue the previously-cut jobs. Also helping was a late $100,000 grant from State Sen. Betty Little.

The major savings is in the new Ti Teachers Association contract. Teachers, who had given up $1 million in pay by taking salary freezes the past three years, were scheduled to return to their contractual pay scale this academic year. That meant a 9.8 percent pay hike.

Rick Smith, president of the Ti Teachers Association, said his members wanted to save jobs, help district taxpayers and stabilize future budgets. To do that, they agreed to tear up the existing agreement with the district and enter into a new four-year contract.

Ti teachers will get a 6.1 percent pay raise this academic year, 3.8 percent in 2014-15, 3.4 percent in 2015-16 and 3.8 percent in 2016-17.

“Our goal is to maintain our programs and personnel as best as possible,” Smith said. “We feel this is a good contract for our members and the district. It gives us some stability for the next few years. We have a terrific school district and want to see that continue.”

McDonald said teacher concessions the past three years have been crucial in allowing the district to stay within the 2 percent state tax cap. It’s time to get the teachers back on their salary schedule, he said, but the 9.8 percent pay hike was just more than the district could bear.

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