The Elwood Board of Education and the Elwood Teachers’ Alliance approved a three-year successor agreement to the labor contract that expires on June 30, 2014, officials said Friday.
The new agreement, which runs through June 30, 2017, is the result of a negotiation and collaboration between the board and the teachers’ alliance, and “sends a clear message that our teachers are committed to our students and the needs of all stakeholders in the Elwood School Community,” according to a news release
Officials say the net result of the agreement will slow the rate of total salary growth – the most prominent financial concern facing all school districts aside from unfunded New York State mandates.
The new contract also “provides compensation terms that are more in alignment with today’s restricted revenue environment,” according to the news release.
A salary increase of one half of one percent will be provided in each year of the new agreement. A step “freeze” is in place for next year and half-step increases are called for in years two and three of the agreement; steps are movements ‘up’ the salary schedule based upon accrued years of service
“With so many contract negotiations dragging out in districts across the Island, we are extremely pleased in Elwood to have teachers who put the education of children first and agreed to a new contract that reflects the current financial reality and avoids a protracted negotiation process,” said Board of Education President Joseph Fusaro, in a statement.
“This is a testament to the mutual respect we have with our faculty and their commitment to the students of our community,” he added.
The new agreement also calls for new language or terms on a variety of lesser issues, including, involuntary staff transfers, use of personal days for unforeseen calendar changes, sick leave borrowing and donation, personal leave, course approval and distance learning, among several others.
Pointing to the tax cap, Peter Scordo, Superintendent of Schools, said the agreement is a critical development for future fiscal planning.
“Salaries in our enterprise, like most businesses, represent the largest cost center in the budget,” Scordo said. “Creating a sustainable school district budget within the tax cap that preserves the programs and services our community wants is our greatest challenge. This new agreement is a big push in the right direction.”
“We know it is critical to work together to achieve outcomes that serve the greatest good,” said Lorelei Stephens, president of the ETA. “Our membership is pleased with this agreement and appreciates the ongoing support of the Elwood community.”