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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.

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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