Shortly after the end of the school year, several Scotia-Glenville Central School District union contracts were extended with concessions administrators say will help restore budget cuts.
The Scotia-Glenville Board of Education on Monday, June 25, approved extending the district’s current contracts with administrators, secretarial and aides and monitors associations. Those bargaining units along with the teachers union agreed to a “day without pay” for the 2012-13 school year.
The Scotia-Glenville Teachers Association, with 220 members, approved the concession at the end of May, and it is estimated to save the district $85,000 next school year. Soon afterwards, the 13-member Administrators’ Association approved the same concession, which would save around $4,500.
The district continued negotiations with the two remaining unions before they approved the same terms. For teachers, the concession results in their annual pay being reduced by 1/200th.
“As we have tried to maintain programs for our students while being fiscally responsible to our community, the staff here has shown that they are sensitive to the fiscal realities our community is facing,” Superintendent Susan Swartz said in a statement.
A late increase in state aid helped restore part of a seventh-grade guidance counselor position, but savings from concessions would fully restore that job, according to district spokesman Robert Hanlon. A half-time enrichment teaching position for Opportunities and Programming for Advanced Learners (OPAL) will be restored, too.
Hanlon said there could be other full or partial restorations made using concessions savings, though he said the district is looking at restoring late buses. The later runs were completely cut from next year’s budget.
Since making the cut, concerns have risen about student participation in extracurricular activities and sports, and also what disciplinary measures can be used without the later runs.
“We can’t expect kids to walk a distance and we can’t really expect parents to pick up students at 3:45 p.m.,” Hanlon said. “I think the late buses are a realization that the kids stay after school. To take that away, kids are really going to lose something there.”
This budgeting season, schools were tasked with trying to conform to the new state mandated tax cap and looked to non-mandated expenses for reductions.
Hanlon said the district is looking to see how many late bus days it can restore, with the goal to have late buses run the current Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday schedule.
“To remove it totally probably wasn’t the best budgetary position at the time,” Hanlon said.
The Administrators union agreed to extend its current contract until June 30, 2013, with a 3 percent salary increase in next school year.
Hanlon said the 3 percent increase was given because administrators are being “shuffled around” and taking on additional duties. In the past two years, four administrator positions were cut, leaving the current 13 members.
“All of the administrators are kind of doing double duty,” Hanlon said. “These folks are working harder and there is fewer of them.”
The 29-member Secretarial Association also extended its current contract to June 30, 2014, with a 2 percent salary increase in both of the coming two years. The same extension length and salary increases were approved for the school aides and monitors unions.
The teachers’ union contract, which was settled in June 2011, provided a 1 percent “cost of living” increase in the 2011-12 school year, with no increase in 2012-13.
The district wasn’t able to supply the overall cost implications for the contractual salary increases before The Spotlight went to print.
Hanlon said the district budgeted for the increases, which are similar to the salary increase of automatic “step” pay raises in teacher contracts.