June 20, 2017 -- This past Monday, more than a year and a half after negotiations had begun and a year since the last contract expired, the North Shore School District’s teachers union and the Board of Education voted to ratify a memorandum of agreement that provides teachers with modest pay raises over the next four years.
In the deal agreed to this past Monday, all teachers, regardless of step, will receive a 1% salary increase for this school year retroactive to September 1st, as well as a 0.5% increase next year; a 1% increase the following year; and, a 1.5% increase in 2019-20.
(A step, as opposed to a raise or cost of living pay increase, is the proportion of full salary that teachers earn as they gain experience. At North Shore, teachers move up one step in the first two years of employment in the district and then one step each year up to 15 years; and then one step every five years until they have reached 30 years - the point at which a teacher earns full salary.)
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation over the past year has risen at a rate of 1.9%.
Teachers will continue to pay 20% of their health insurance premium cost.
Under the new agreement, elementary school teachers will now be required to be available for evening parent-teacher conferences.
Additionally, there will be certain limitations on the type of credits teachers can use to receive incremental salary increases for advanced study. As in virtually all public school districts in New York, teachers in North Shore receive salary increases, sometimes known as “lane changes,” for achieving milestones in advanced study beyond a master’s degree, in increments of 15 credits up to 75 credits beyond a masters, and then finally for earning a doctorate.
Just prior to the Board’s vote to ratify the deal at this past Monday's Board meeting, School Board President Toni Labbate expressed her appreciation to both district leaders and the teachers for working out the deal.
“I’m very happy that we have come to this amicable agreement and I thank the leadership for all of their help and thank Greg (North Shore Schools Federated Employees president Greg Perles) for all of his work,” she said.
Mr. Perles explained to Northwordnews that negotiations are a difficult balancing act.
“From the outset, our Union worked hard to ensure the continuing stability and excellence of the North Shore schools while preserving our members' right to a fair, equitable living wage,” he said.
And, although the process took 19 months, he complimented both teachers and district leaders for their efforts and willingness to find common ground.
“We live in skeptical times and there are people who see Unions and their Districts as fundamentally at odds. That's not the case in North Shore,” he explained. “We recognized the Board's legitimate interest in protecting the community. The Board recognized the Union's legitimate interest in protecting its members. It took a while but we found some firm middle ground. The deal was ratified with overwhelming support on both sides. That is testimony to the triumph of deliberation and collegiality over haste and invective.”
The teachers voted 324 to 2 to ratify the four year deal.
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