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Northport Teachers Rally at High School

After school Thursday, the teachers walked together in a show of unity.

Members of the marched at Northport High school Thursday holding signs reading "Fair Settlement."

UTN Oresident Antoinette Blanck said that the "unity walk" was part of the UTN's "ongoing solidarity activities wherein our members demonstrate support for one another, our union and the process through which a settlement will ultimately be reached." 

Northport's teachers and the district have not been able to come to an agreement for a new teachers' contract. . An impasse was declared Dec. 23 in the negotiations process.

A negotiations update on the UTN web site stated that,"This declaration comes on the heels of the union’s rejection of the district’s recent financial proposal, a proposal which was worse than any other previously discussed. The union has presented and discussed numerous financial proposals throughout this process, several of which would have enabled the district to save millions of dollars and all of which were reasonable and fair, and formulated in recognition of the current economic climate. While the district has not specifically responded to these proposals, they have provided their own proposals."

Blanck said that salaries is not the only issue on the table.

"It is worth noting that despite some beliefs to the contrary, this negotiation is not simply about money.  In fact, we have, in the process, offered "zeroes,'" she said. "What we are now seeking is to appropriately address the Annual Professional Performance Review and the process through which teachers are evaluated and encouraged to constantly and consistently update and enhance their professional expertise. In doing so, the education provided to the children of our community will not only be maintained, but improved."

The next stage in this process will involve the joint selection of a mediator.

Jean Baron, vice president of the United Taxpayers of Northport-East Northport said that, rather than being a show of unity, the rally was simply inappropriate.

"They were there for at least 15 minutes, walking up and down in front of the school on the Elwood Road side," Baron said. "Did they have to do this in front of the kids? Is this just more of their political ploy to get empathy from parents and the kids? What about a fair settlement to the taxpayers? And what about all the families in our community who have lost their homes to foreclosures? Didn't the children of those families need a  a fair settlement?"

Northport Superintendent of Schools Marylou McDermott did not respond to a request for comment by post time.

At the Jan. 10 Board of Ed meeting, Board President Stephen Waldenburg said that the board has had 16 meetings with the UTN and both have agreed to declare an impasse so that a mediator can be brought in to help resolve the situation.

kimberly Anderson January 26, 2011 at 08:48 PM
Sorry Dave.... I took four classes my first year teaching. Two night classes, one weekend and one online. I am not superwoman, it was just something I had to do to be employed. Unions are a necessary evil, but to march on the schools because of a sticking point like Annual Review is absurd. The unions have become corrupt and it is unions that have forced large manufacturers to take their business overseas. Unions have hurt the American worker and family. They no longer do what they were designed to do. The Unions have become glorified hostage takers. Dave....kittens, lobsters and Ox????? I don't get your analogies. Look why do you people fight about this? Everyone is entitled to a livable income. The operative word is livable. What they are not entitled to is employment for life after three years. The nepotism within this district is ridiculous therefor it is no wonder that things can't get done. I had great hope for McDermott but when I heard that she had her office completely remodeled to the tune of thousands of dollars soon after she was hired I was nauseated. (This info came from within her inner sanctum). Everybody thinks they are entitled to something. Unfortunately this is what we are teaching our future leaders. If I don't get what I want I will stamp my feet and threaten until you give in. Children learn by example. HHHMMMMM.....
Irishdave January 26, 2011 at 10:39 PM
Ah, come on now I love to use analogies. "Herding cats" means something difficult, teaching today is made more difficult by the day, lucky we (you, I and other good teachers) can do it. I think it would challenge the average naysayer of education. "Lobsters pulling others down. " In our me first world many are at the point to say, "no one can do better then me so I wont let them" yes it is a pessimistic view I have but I see it a lot. "Ox being gored," In the real world someone get screwed I guess it is Npt's teachers turn, maybe the taxpayers or someday bureaucrats? Unions you have hit nail on the head, but just what can we do (as teachers) lay down and play dead? In a perfect world we would have never needed unions at all but as you must know there are teachers who have needed the union and teachers who have abused the union system. Don't get me started on Union leaders! When I was teaching the "Annual Review day" became a "dog and pony show" (another analogy) The teacher would come in at maybe 4:30 AM and set up their classroom to make the "principle" happy. Many Principals would have their way they wanted the class to run whether the system worked or not ""That is the way to do it!" Forget about students' learning styles. Does the teacher teach to the Cognitive Domain or Psychomotor Domain? I taught a Psychomotor subject and my principal could not wrap his head around any thing but the Cognitive Domain, every year I had to "teach" the principal the difference.
Irishdave January 26, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Nepotism is like the "force" it has a good side and a dark side. Why give up a "Good" employee or we have to keep this one because her/his relative is so n so. In my last school we had 4 couples, twin brothers, and mother and daughter teachers. Not one problem Yet I have seen problems also. Entitlement, depends on which side of the middle you are on, recently we had the Healthcare issue. Social Security is it an Entitlement? At times it is but after you have HAD to pay into it for all your working life it takes a different tone. There are many facets in this the negotiations. We have only touched the surface on here.
kimberly Anderson January 26, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Listen. I don't get inth the Pyschomotor, Cognitive, pedagogy stuff. I teach them how to read and write. I teach them right from wrong. I hope and pray that I make a difference in their lives. I don't over think it. I don't over analyze it. I just do what I do. If someone I work for wants me to do it differently, I will find a way to incorporate what they want into my lesson. I do this because I work for them and they make sure that I have a job. What is interesting is this..... I have found that if one loves what they do, they do it well. Usually this negates the need to get into work very early to prepare for "a dog and pony show".
kptree January 26, 2011 at 11:15 PM
...And that's the problem in a nutshell with most of today's teachers. They don't think or analyze the way they teach, looking for what makes them effective and where their weaknesses are. Teachers across the nation have the lowest average SAT scores of the professional domains. You may very well be a fantastic teacher, Kimberly, please don't take this as a personal attack, but to be the best you need to know how to adjust your teaching style to accommodate various learning styles, to analyze data to pinpoint areas of where your instruction needs to be tweaked. The best teachers are often left unhired because they are not the superintendent's second cousin twice removed or her administrative assistant's son. We need to look at the most successful charters schools (think KIPP, Harlem Children's Zone) to see how they hire and retain teachers. The fact is we are paying, even here on Long Island, too much money for teachers who don't rate it.
kimberly Anderson January 26, 2011 at 11:34 PM
kptree.... read my previous posts. I adjust every day to different learning styles. The teachers in my department sit down frequently (monthly) to pinpoint areas of instruction that need to be tweaked and share different ideas with each other. We help each other and often ask for advice. I am truly lucky to work with the professionals that I do. I am observed and work with my chairperson who is available to me whenever I need advice or input. I have no problem with furthering my professional development. I have a problem that the district employees seem to think that it is an entitlement so that they can step up. You want to make more money? Do it on your own time not, the taxpayers time. I agree with you on the Charter School models. I further agree wholeheartedly with your last statement.
Irishdave January 26, 2011 at 11:47 PM
How should we evaluate teachers and schools? Teachers' Standard test scores, Students' Standard test scores, Students who enter college, Students who graduate college, students who have a warm feeling about themselves, students who are a success in business ? Again Just how do we rate teachers and schools?
kptree January 26, 2011 at 11:51 PM
Kimberly, my comments were not meant as a personal attack. I did read your posts and you mention being observed by your chairperson and handling a large class singlehandedly, not about adjusting to learning styles or analyzing data. It was the "I don't get into Pedagogy stuff" comment that I reacted to. Unfortunately, many, many teachers develop a set of lessons, and a teaching style that calcifies and stagnates. They are "teaching" but they are never "learning". They take the professional development classes, do the minimum amount of work and never pick up another book or professional magazine. I have personally observed teacher who refused the latest training, they could "opt out" ,if you can believe it, of things like SMARTBoard training. If you don't fit that mold then you should hold your head up high. You shouldn't feel the need to defend yourself on a forum from a stranger, you should simply be confident you do the best job you can in the best way the job demands.
kimberly Anderson January 27, 2011 at 12:28 AM
kptree, I didn't take it as a personal attack, you told me not to in your first post. LOL. The topic was never about adjusting to learning styles or analyzing data. That had never come up during this discussion, but I would be willing to engage in an intellectually stimulating discussion if you wish to do so. I learn from my students every single day. I also learn when my stagnant lessons don't work and I learn to tweak and change to make them work. This can often be done just based on body language and facial expressions. I do agree with your comment about teachers taking professional development classes, and doing the minimal amount of work required, sadly this is testament as to why tenure doesn't work and why our children suffer because of it. As for SMARTBoard training, I'm not sure. I think it is imperative for some subjects, but not for all. I think this needs to be evaluated by department need. Finally, I don't feel the need to defend myself to a stranger, actually I eagerly share my story, hoping that I can reach people and give them hope that there are teachers out there who want to help your children be the best that they can be. It is interesting and amusing to me how people react when someone simply tells their story.
kptree January 27, 2011 at 01:28 AM
No, the topic is not simply about teacher's ability to adjust but what makes a good teacher and what is fair recompense for those teachers. It's interesting to watch teacher's unions realize that the anger against high taxes along with unfairly protected tenured teachers may actually result in changes to the system. Unfortunately, until the teacher educational programs are changed to reflect better practice, until teachers are evaluated using a combination of 1.test scores, 2. personal portfolios, 3.ability to write curriculum, 4. proof of continued professional development we are still going to face the same issues over and over again. Teacher compensation is too high for too little result. I used the SMARTBoard training as an example of a system that lets teacher "opt out" on training for no particularly justifiable reason other then they don't feel like learning something new or they are afraid of new technology. It doesn't matter whether that teacher likes the SMARTBoard or not- they should be able to utilize the equipment the district provides. The Northport district needs to save every penny it can and needs to look to the future when LIPA may not be paying a huge amount into the budget. We could be a district that ends automatic raises, that demands that teachers be responsible for maintaining and investing in their own retirement just as the majority of the population does. But the boogeyman- larger classes, elimination of sports, etc will cause most to blink.
Jack January 27, 2011 at 02:09 AM
Dave, You sure talk like Union Guy. You say you have no paid holidays or vacations. Of course you do. It's factored into your salary. Unions are unnecessary in all and any industry as they breed mediocrity with union members are not rewarded individually for above average performance and poor performers are not expelled. They all recieve equal renumeration and step up income increases and benefits. I don't know how long you've been in retirement but I do agree at one time teacher's income was only fair, maybe poor as the median income of a teacher was lower that the median income of a private worker. (Maybe you missed the liberal pay and benefits package of today. ) That is why the retirement benefits of pension and health benefits was created. Today's teachers are paid well above the average privateworker. A friend of mine is a teacher in Nassau County (I won't mention the school). He changed his career 10 years ago from a lawyer. He tells me with his next raise this year he will be making $119,000/yr. Sometimes he teaches summer school for an additional $8,000 but most summers he just takes off and why not on that salary. Between you and I, he is grossly overpaid for 180 days work. If he works a 245 day per year job based on that pay he would earn $160,000/yr. This does not factor it his benefits package which is 2nd to none. So I'm not sure what you consider rich but my pal is on his way.
kimberly Anderson January 27, 2011 at 02:30 AM
kp... you said it well and I agree with you on all points. Larger classes would not be the end of the world. That was the point that I was attempting to make in a previous post. Programs such as sports and music don't need to be eliminated. Just a thought.....if my taxes were lower and my child wanted to participate in a sport, I would have the extra money to pay for my child to participate in that sport. That would be our choice as a family. If he didn't want to..... then we could choose to save that money and perhaps invest it in his college fund. I will probably take a ton of grief for this position, but it is my opinion and that is the beauty of this country. So far, we are still allowed to have one.
Jean Baron February 06, 2011 at 03:07 PM
DID YOU KNOW The United Teachers of Northport (UTN) Contract?: *Did you know…a starting teacher’s annual salary, with no experience, is $49,559 with a Bachelors degree, and $56,295 with a Masters? The salary for a teacher with 10 years experience and a Masters degree with 30 professional credits is $83,890. A 20 year veteran with 60 professional development credits earns $120,511. (Source: Schedule D, UTN contract). Northport-East Northport teachers have 185 workdays, (not including 15 sick and personal days). By comparison, a typical 40 hour per week job has 252 workdays and 10-15 days of personal/vacation time. (Source: Article 14, UTN contract) Northport-East Northport teachers workday starts 5 minutes before school starts and 5 minutes after dismissal? That translates to a workday of 6 hours, 20 minutes. Multiply this by the 185 workdays, and you get 1,171 hours of work contractually required by our district’s teachers. By comparison, the regular full-timer works 2,016 hours in a year. For someone earning $50,000 per year, a Northport-East Northport teacher earns $43 per hour whereas the full-time worker earns $24.80 per hour. While most teachers do work beyond their normal workday, isn’t it fair to say that in these economic times, most other full-time workers do the same? See the complete contract at www.UTNEN.com
Tyson February 06, 2011 at 04:03 PM
The end of the high salary, union protection, and people being protected from job losses no matter how effective their work skills are, are coming to an end. First it starts with Chris Christie in NJ, now Cuomo in NY, and the rest of the country will follow. It is a known fact that people are all moving to conservative, republican states in the last 10 years, and Long Islanders are going to follow. Our young people, ages 20-30, at least those who are educated, are all moving out to start new lives in areas of the country where people don't get $100,000 pensions and make $150,000 for a job that is only 9 months a year. Too many people on Long Island are either overpaid or living on disability for a broken toe or someothet con-game. Enough is enough.If these workers were part of corporate america or had their own small business, they would be fired or go out of business. He who can, does, he who can't, teaches. That's a sad statement but it sometimes holds truth.
Jean Baron February 06, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Did you know... High School and Middle School teachers receive at least one planning period per day, one lunch period per day, but are contractually obligated to teach classes only 5 periods a day? That’s out of a total of 9 periods per day for high school and 8 periods for middle school. The remainder of the time is for out of classroom activities and assignments such as hall monitoring, extra help and other student-related activities. (Source: Article 31, UTN contract) Elementary teachers receive a 40 minute lunch hour plus a 45 minute planning period each day? (Source: Article 31, UTN contract) Teachers have the potential to earn FOUR different types of salary increases each year? An annual cost of living increase, a “step” increase, and a “column transfer” increase for continuing education and professional development credits. In any given year, these amount to 6%-9% raises each and every year. In addition, some teachers are eligible for longevity bonuses, depending on length of service within the district. (Source: Article 33 and Schedule D, UTN contract) What do you think, now that you DO KNOW what their contract says? See the complete contract at www.UTNEN.com * Paid for by the United Taxpayers of Northport-East Northportid You Know..
Jean Baron February 06, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Extra Teacher Income: All extra-curricular positions (i.e. coaches, band leaders, club advisor, class advisor, chaperones, etc) must be filled by certified teachers, and that the appro-priated amount for these positions in 2010-2011 is over $1,000,000. (Source: BOE Schedule D-Personnel Pay Actions Report) The current contract allows over 80 coaching positions for our district, each of which pay between $4,000-$9,000+ per season/per coach. For example, the varsity football coaches receives $9100 for one season and an additional stipend for post-season play. Game scorers/timers for all home field/court games receive $91 per game. (Source: Article 36, UTN contract and BOE Schedule D-Personnel Pay Actions Report) The current contract allows for over 260 club/activity advisor positions with stipends ranging between $1300 and $7100 per session, activity or event. For example, several charity-based clubs have advisors who are paid in excess of $6000 for oversight of the club. High school class advisors receive between $2325-$5097 for this position. Most elementary club advisors receive a $1300-$1700 stipend for programs that may run as little as 8 weeks. (Source: Article 36, UTN contract) What do you think, now that you DO KNOW what their contract says? See the complete contract at www.UTNEN.com * Paid for by the United Taxpayers of Northport-East Northport
Kelly Campbell February 06, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Hi guys. Listen, I have three children in the Northport school district and have had mostly outstanding teachers in whose hands I have felt blessed to be able to place my children each day. There have been a random few who I had to wonder how they ever got hired, but that has been the exception rather than the rule for sure. I just chalked it up to life experience for them and moved on. I know that teaching is a very demanding profession (full disclosure: my husband is a 5th grade teacher in the South Huntington district and I can assure you he is neither underworked nor overpaid) and that the requirements put on teachers rival that put on attorneys. I think they are the scapegoats in this budget crisis. If taxpayers want less qualified teachers, they should implore the NYSED to lessen the requirements. To earn a permanent teaching certificate in NY, teachers are required to obtain a master's degree. Also, the state government puts onerous requirements on school districts for almost every thing they do. There are unfunded mandates and requirements for building construction, transportation, and more that need to be addressed.
Jean Baron February 06, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Agreed Kelly, I also have a child in the middle school and commend the teachers, staff, Mrs. Kroon and Mr. DeStefano for the dedication that they give too so many of the children. But do take exception that you compare teachers to attorneys. Yes, we are all professionals, (but doubt you would see attorneys walking the streets with signs, teachers do not have a Code of Ethics or disciplinary rules that we must live by everyday that we practice law.) We practice by a higher standard and wish many others professionals would also. I doubt very much I would have my license if I verbally abused or put a client in fear of danger. Yet, teachers are protected by the almighty contract and it is extremely difficult to take away many of the benefits and perks that we, the taxpayers have generously given to them in the past. Perhaps, the contract in South Huntington is very different than here in our school district and I am sure that your husband is a wonderful teacher, but what are we do to with the lack of transparency and all the goodies given to our staff here in Northport. Who can really afford to live here, especially, when so many believe that LIPA will be successful?
Kelly Campbell February 06, 2011 at 08:29 PM
Jean, you are right! He is an wonderful teacher. Ask anyone. Ha ha. I believe the SHUFSD contract actually has more generous 'steps' than Northport but am not sure. As far as code of ethics, I think at times teachers are held up to an even higher standard than any other profession. They are expected to lead an exemplary personal life. I know teachers who don't want anyone to know they even drink a beer for fear of possible professional retribution. And many attorneys make their living writing those same almighty contracts to which you refer. In fact, they are lauded for making them air tight. The perks that we have given teachers in the past are for us to develop well-rounded children. And, I know it goes full circle, the better a school system is perceived to be, the higher the real estate values and, hence, property taxes. I agree fat has to be trimmed. That's why I am so willing to look at consolidation. There's got to be efficiencies of scale. I am not saying I have all the answers. These are just my thoughts. And, as a reporter, I highly respect the transparency that I think UTN-EN is bringing or attempting to bring to the process. Teachers are paid by the public. Like the government, what goes on within our district should be transparent. But teachers do need to be protected somewhat. We should want them to be.
kptree February 06, 2011 at 09:00 PM
The unions do their job and protect their members- as many in other forums point out, it is not the unions that hire, train, and monitor teachers- the bad apples were put there in the first place by the administrators that hire them. However, teachers and those in the public sector jobs used to make much lower wages. The great benefits and pensions were put in place as an incentive to accept a job that didn't pay as well as the private sector. This is clearly no longer the case. While I am not asking teacher to work for pay that would not allow them to live in the communities they serve, I am asking them to pay for their retirement just as I have to. I, and most of Long Island, have to save and invest and pave the way for our later years. We can no longer afford the existing pension system. Teacher should and could pay more into their health care- this goes for administrators as well. I love when someone tries to justify the obscenely high wages and perks that some L.I. administrators earn by comparing them to heads of private sector businesses. As if. How about the Chancellor of NYC Public Schools? Klein earned $250,000- way less than the honchos in Syosset and Commack- for a far bigger job! There is way too much anger leveled at teachers- they are unfairly judged, much maligned, and far too many people don't think of the time, education and knowledge that they must put into their jobs. But the current system in untenable.
Irishdave February 06, 2011 at 11:04 PM
“*Did you know…a starting teacher’s annual salary, with no experience, is $49,559 with a Bachelors degree, and $56,295 with a Masters?” Did you know… People in the Suffolk County-Nassau County, New York Metropolitan Area Median Salary by Job Job Salary Data  Attorney / Lawyer $69,616         Retail Store Manager $47,205   High School Teacher $58,669   Registered Nurse (RN) $65,019   Administrative Assistant $36,010   Elementary School Teacher $59,726   Physician Assistant (PA) $82,117   http://www.payscale.com/research/US/People_in_the_Suffolk_County-Nassau_County,_New_York_Metropolitan_Area/Salary The average income per Cap. Northport $59,905 East Northport $37,474 Asharoken $60,901 Eatons Neck $59,414 Fort Salonga $53,871 Commack $41,253 Average $52,138 Suffolk co. $34,563 http://www.bestplaces.net Looks to me that the pay is right in the middle of income per Cap for the Northport EastNorthport area
Jean Baron February 07, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Dear irishdave: You failed to mention that the average worker in the private sectors does not have added on all those perks and goodies which many is added on to their pension amounts, and that is what is really hurting the average American. We can't continue to subsidize their retirement and their health care any longer. Can you imagine employers paying full pensions and health care for their workers, we would all be out of business. The economy is not what it use to be.
Irishdave February 07, 2011 at 03:57 AM
Do the employers paying full pensions or is it matching funds employers/employees? Isn't Obamacare going to be paid by the employer? (sarcasm) Northport-East Northport teachers have 185 workdays, (which 15 sick and personal days are a part of not in addition to). The average American worker works 261± PAID days a year plus overtime when allowed with a paid vacation of 5 to 20 days . AND I have never seen holidays figured in to the yearly Salary for teachers as John suggested. Many companies in the private sector have health care why not teachers? There are 15.9 % of Americans that lack health coverage which means that 84.1 % have health coverage, almost all is supplied by the employer in some form or another . Of the 15.9 % what kinds of jobs or lack of jobs are involved? If you want to have the teachers teach 261 days a year you have extrapolate the $49,559 yearly pay out to $69,918.
Kelly Campbell February 07, 2011 at 08:31 PM
It's so weird that this story came up today because I had just said randomly in a previous post that teachers are expected to lead an exemplary personal life and that I know teachers who don't even want to be seen drinking a beer. The teacher in this story was given the choice to resign or be fired after she posted photos of herself drinking in Ireland while on vacation. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/06/sunday/main7323148.shtml?tag=stack Really?
Irishdave February 07, 2011 at 10:34 PM
In court documents, they say teachers were warned about "unacceptable online activities" by the district. Payne's page, they say, "promoted alcohol use" and "contained profanity." Just who decides what is promoting alcohol use and what is profanity?
Neil March 04, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Did you know that teachers don't pay state taxes on their retirement. The same retirement that they don't contribute to. Same with cops and firemen. Jeez. Who the hell thinks that retirement at 40 makes sense! We are going broke!
Irishdave March 04, 2011 at 05:06 AM
Neil Is that true (please state your source)? The part paid by an employer is taxable the employees amount is not taxable, at least when I did my taxes. I have to pay taxes on my taxable retirement. Most teacher retirement plans have a years of service PLUS age requirement, for a teacher who started teaching at 22 they can retire at 52 not 40, you must be talking about cops and firemen you know the ones who save lives.
GT May 17, 2011 at 09:59 PM
A lot of misinformation here. First off, Northport teachers salaries are FROZEN during the impasse and until a new contract is signed. So district has no incentive to negotiate. That is why (presumably) there was such a large increase in the last year of the most recent contract. Second, later tiers require the teachers to contribute to the pension. The problem with the State fiscal issues is all the legacy costs from the Tier I and II retirees who paid zip for their pensions and medical benefits and are now soaking up all the money. Unitl they are out of the system things will be difficult. So lets not beat a dead horse. What needs to be done now is a realization by all involved that you get 1 increase, not a raise and a step. And it needs to be tied to inflation to be fair.
Jack May 17, 2011 at 10:37 PM
GT, the later tiers are contributing but it's chump change. I believe 3% but please advise the exact % if you know. It's time to have the new tiers move to 401K's.
GT June 07, 2011 at 02:52 AM
yes, 3% for the first 1o years for tier 4; tier 5 is 3% for entire career. And what is lost also is that all state employees get similar pensions deals. where are the posts complaining about that? Our state taxes are as high as our school taxes compared to other states. So again this is system issue, not just about teachers but seems teachers are the most visible beneficiaries since we pay more attention to our property taxes than state taxes since we get to actually vote for the school budgets. And lets not forget all those wonderful "special districts" we have on long island!

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