GLENS FALLS — Two labor contracts settled, and two to go for Glens Falls city school officials.

The district recently reached a four-year deal with its teachers and signed off on a three-year pact with the administrators. Now, it just have to approve contracts with the support staff and secretaries.

School Superintendent Paul Jenkins said he is optimistic that both of those could be finished in September.

The process to reach an agreement with the teachers was particularly contentious. They had been working under the terms of a contract that expired on June 30, 2012 and both sides had been negotiating for 15 months. The Glens Falls Board of Education declared an impasse in January and the two sides met with a mediator. They reached agreement on a compromise proposal, which the board unanimously approved June 24.

“I think both sides gave up some things that they were looking for. In any negotiation, if both sides give, it’s always a win for everyone,” Jenkins said.

The four-year deal is retroactive to July 2012. Teachers will not receive any extra money for the 2012-2013 school year. They will receive only the step raise for the first half of the 2013-2014 year. Starting in January, they will get another 0.71 percent for a total raise of nearly 3 percent over this year.

The teachers will receive their step plus 0.71 percent for a total of 2.98 percent in both the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 years.

The total teacher payroll is about $12.5 million. The district has 211 teachers with an average salary of $62,196, according to school officials.

In addition, the teachers gave concessions on health insurance that school officials sought. Beginning in January, the district will eliminate its most costly Matrix health care plan. The affected employees will have to switch to one of three less expensive plans, saving the district roughly $87,500 in this coming school year, according to Jenkins.

Fewer districts are keeping the Matrix plan, which is causing premiums to increase by 17 to 20 percent.

“Districts that were still on the Matrix were going to have to pick up the additional cost this year,” he said.

Beginning in the 2014-2015 year, the teachers will pay an additional 0.5 percent toward the cost of the health care premium to bring it up to 17 percent.

They will pay another 1 percent for their health insurance in the final year to get to 18 percent, according to Jenkins.

Although there was no total salary freeze, Jenkins said he was pleased that the district was able to get a year and a half of only step increases. The days of annual high salary increases are over, according to Jenkins.

“The school board and the teachers’ union all understood the financial situation that school districts are in,” he said.

The district also settled with its nine administrators, approving a three-year contract effective July 1 with salary increases of 1.25 percent in the first year, 2.5 percent in the second and 2.75 in the third.

Jenkins said all of the administrators elected to switch from the Matrix plan as a show of good faith. They will also increase their contributions to health insurance premiums to 20.5 percent in the second year and 21.5 percent in the third. The support staff’s pact expired at the end of June and the secretaries expired at the end of June 2012.

Salaries and benefits are the main issue for all of the labor unions, according to Jenkins. He said the district has to strike a balance between containing costs and maintaining programs and attracting top educators for positions.

“All the units that we’ve been negotiating with are understanding of the climate that school districts are in,” he said.

(6) comments

theMaven

"Salaries and benefits are the main issue for all of the labor unions, according to Jenkins."

I wonder if this is the same depth with which they teach over there, what a "duh" statement......

" He said the district has to strike a balance between containing costs and maintaining programs and attracting top educators for positions."

If he cannot attract good teachers at 62 grand a year AVERAGE, with benny's that don't quit and 8 months of work a year, then he should be fired.

Oh yes, 2.75% third year, teachers get steps and more?
so much for any balance.

Anyone over there notice the level of accomplishment for the poor students?

Teachers should be giving back money, not taking more,
same-same for the administrators who let them get away with it.

Darn!

I forgot, all that is the kid's fault, and the stupid voters and parents.

Mea culpa!

Douglas Be

To All,

The average teacher opening draws between 50 to 400 certified N.Y.S teachers for each job depending on the subject matter.
Just saying that supply and demand obviously does not work in education as the total compensation packages still go higher than the national average...

Just saying as the kids say.
Regards
Doug Be

Idoknow

I hope they can't work out a budget. I hope they fail financially. This would be great. New York State would have to start a whole new system. The union would have to go. Some of those 400 teachers that show up for 1 job opening would love a chance to teach. New people might even put students before money.

KCN315

When a comment starts out with "I hope you fail," It's clear you have nothing to add of any value. If you want to make suggestions that educated people will listen to maybe your tactics should include a little more negotiating. It's a tricky situation to be in. As for the grumblers opposed to teacher contracts and teaching as a whole, everyone had an opportunity for a free education and with that education you could have chosen to be a teacher too. As for amount of work per your dollar spent paying your school taxes is stil a better deal than most of what you spend your money on. I challenge anyone who has never taught, to teach for a week. Go to BOCES, get on the substitute teacher registry and have a go at it. Ask an MBA, Professional Engineer, PA, a Pharmacist, a lineman, if they'd become a teacher. Many will tell you the pay isn't worth it. I don't think you'll find too many teachers telling you that. You want to pay teacher's less, reduce the education requirements.

theMaven

Spoken like a teacher.

speaking of nothing of value.

Their only concept of negotiating teachers know is when they get more,
hell with everyone else, just gimme, gimmee.

I've heard the disingenuous 'try being a teacher' argument,
how about negotiating this:
'try being a taxpayer',
where your salary is not coming out of
the public's pocket,
where your school system is lagging the rest of the civilized world,
where bullying, teach for the test, failing standards, lack of enrichment or AP
run rampant.

then try listening to some 'holier than thou' teacher, commenter or administrator
blow you off at every juncture, because not being a teacher,
you are obviously too darn stupid to understand anything.

Perhaps the ones truly too stupid,
whether designing the test, or teaching into it,
are those running a school system where in some schools
less than 10% of the kids can pass minimum standards!

Look in the mirror,
that, my friend, is really, really, really STUPID.

Idoknow

Thank you Maven for understanding. Some of these people prefer to be ignorant.

Upton Sinclair Said "It's difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

BTW, KCN 3 "teacher" you misquoted what I wrote.
I am not opposed to teachers, I would love to see new and enthusiastic young people have a chance to inspire the youngsters.
Everyone used to get an education that was affordable to the taxpayer before you people dragged in the union. It could be like that again if the union went away for lack of money.

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