Collaborative Effort Helps Create a Sustainable Future for the District and Community
The Port Jefferson UFSD Board of Education (BOE) and the Port Jefferson Teachers Association (PJTA) are pleased to announce that they have approved a successor agreement to the labor contract that ended on June 30, 2013, which will run through June 30, 2017.
The new agreement calls for a zero percent increase in the salary schedule in year one, followed by a 1 percent annual increase in the salary schedule in years two through four. A step ‘freeze’ is in place for year three, and half-step increases are called for in years two and four (steps are movements ‘up’ the schedule based upon accrued years of service). One-time payments of $650 will be made to all teachers in years two and three, and teachers who are not eligible to move up a step on the salary schedule in year one will receive a one-time payment of $1,300.
The net result of the agreement is to slow the rate of total salary growth and save significant sums in the short and long term. The district will realize a savings of approximately $850,000 over the 4-year term of the agreement (as compared to the expired contract language).
In addition to the aforementioned provisions, the new agreement calls for an increase in the health care premium contribution by the teachers, a decrease in payment for those teachers who decline health care, a freezing of stipend rates, a new sign-in/sign out procedure mutually agreed upon by the PJTA and the district, and an adjustment to bereavement days.
Dr. Kenneth Bossert, superintendent of schools, noted that this agreement is integral to helping the district achieve tax cap-compliant status over the next three years (the proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year is already within the allowable cap). “What it does, more than anything else, is give us the opportunity to preserve the staffing and programs that our community demands,” he said, “and to do so in a way that is mindful of the concerns of all taxpaying residents of the district.”
Board of Education President Kathleen Brennan thanked the PJTA for their professionalism and cooperation during the negotiating process. “You have demonstrated an understanding of the situation we all face as a community,” she said at the April 22 board meeting.
“In a time of continued financial pressure for public schools and their taxpaying communities, we think it is critical to work together to prevent the erosion of the quality education provided to the students here in Port Jefferson,” said Brian Snow, President of the PJTA. “It is unfortunate that such sacrifices must fall on the middle class worker and taxpayer. It is time for school management and finance to return to local community control.”