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School Board Rejects Teacher Concessions

The Gazette received the following release from the Mamaroneck School District shortly after receiving a release on the same topic from the Mamaroneck Teachers\’ Association.   A related article will appear shortly.

Mamaroneck School Board Rejects Teacher Concession Proposal, Saying it puts District’s Financial Future in Jeopardy

After thoughtful consideration, Mamaroneck Schools today said it did not accept the Mamaroneck Teachers Association (MTA) proposal to take a salary freeze for the first three months of the 2010-2011 school year in exchange for a full two-year contract extension that would result in annual teacher raises averaging more than 5 % through 2013 under essentially identical contract terms teachers have today.  District projections show that these teacher concessions, if accepted, would cause the tax rate to increase more than eight percent for each of the two contract extension years.

“With contracts up for negotiation next year and the process scheduled to begin in just a few short months, we’re not looking to extend teacher contracts under the current terms,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Fried said.  “Accepting this proposal would be detrimental to the future health of our district.  It would place our district in financial jeopardy and undermine the tireless efforts the Board and community have put forth over the past five months to minimize the burden on taxpayers, yet keep our schools strong and reflective of the core values of our community.”

Dr. Fried adds, “We hoped they would have provided us with an offer that supported the children in the District, yet did not require the Board to extend the contract in a manner that places an undo financial burden on the community.  The MTA concession proposal, resulting in an eight percent tax increase for each of the two proposed years, would result in massive teacher layoffs impacting class size, programs and quality of instruction.”

According to the MTA proposal, after thee months of a pay freeze during the first part of the 2010-11 school year, the teachers’ salary schedules would revert back to the contractual cost of living increase of 3.8% (plus the dollar increase a teacher is entitled to with “steps”, tied to teaching experience, and “lanes”, which represent levels of education) in the current contract.  Then, for the two years that follow, the teachers would accept a contractual cost of living increase of 2.25% on top of the step and lane increases.  (For further information on teacher compensation and benefits, which make up 79% of the budget, visit our Budget Communications section of the website — then select Frequently Asked Questions at right and Compensation and Benefits, also at right.)

“We appreciated the concessions the MTA made last year enabling us to restore 2.2 teaching positions, but are disappointed they’ve provided an offer this year with strings attached.  The Board does not believe it’s in the community’s best interests to agree to a contract extension that would lead to an unacceptable tax increase in 2011-2012 and 2012-13,” said Linnet Tse, president of the Mamaroneck Board of Education, which carefully analyzed the different options the MTA presented by preparing three-year financial projections using a variety of assumptions.

Tse says the Board was hoping the teachers, in recognition of the crisis the District was facing, would have presented an option that doesn’t bind the District to another two years at an unsustainable rate.  She explains that other surrounding districts have accepted contract extensions from their unions, but most of those districts had two years left on their contracts, and several districts changed the salary schedule itself as a result of the concessions.  Additionally, beyond the salaries and benefits, the current teacher contract in Mamaroneck contains restrictive language that prevents the District from making operational changes that would have potential cost savings.

On January 4, 2010, the District sent a letter to the MTA requesting that it re-open its contract in light of unprecedented financial challenges.  The MTA rejected the request.

“In my letter to MTA leadership, I indicated my interest in addressing particular contract provisions, several of which I believe restrict the District’s ability to maximize student learning in a cost-effective manner.  The contract needs to be flexible enough for the teachers and administrators to work together to make our educational programs sustainable into the future,” Dr. Fried said.

The Superintendent’s Recommended Budget, which is expected to be adopted by the Board next Tuesday, April 20, reflects a 1.22% budget-to-budget increase and a 2.08 % tax rate increase, the lowest in memorable history and possibly ever.  The District leadership and Board have listened to the community and have worked very hard over the past several months, identifying millions of dollars in cuts, in order to reduce the tax increase to one that they think the community can support. Of the 53 positions being abolished in the Superintendent’s Recommended Budget, 80% are non-teaching in nature (10.3 teacher positions are slated to be cut.)

“We cannot accept this proposal at the eleventh hour.   The Board was willing and open to working with the MTA months ago when we began this process of making painful reductions in our budget.  The Board made it clear to the MTA that we were willing to commit to restoring teacher positions with any meaningful concessions made,” Dr Fried said.

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10 comments to School Board Rejects Teacher Concessions

  • Bob Jones

    Other neighboring districts came to agreements with their teachers unions under many of the similar terms the Mamaroneck Teachers Association appears to have proposed.

    I’ve got news for district leaders, if you don’t want to compensate teachers competitively, you will turn this district into a Mount Vernon quickly. Everything has a price.


    Bob Jones, boo hoo. NYC alone looks to lose 8500 teachers alone, and NYS may have to reduce teacher employment by 14,000. Read this

    Threats and intimidation will not work in this community any longer. Our teachers are highly compensated. Everyone thinks without them, the world will fall apart. Guess what…it won’t. I say “VOTE DOWN THE PROPOSED SCHOOL BUDGET.” For the teachers, who don’t like it…look for another job? Join those who will be on the unemployment line. Teachers have no idea how residents are economically hurting.

    No one really talks about the heavy thousands parents pay tutors to supplement the education system, and prepare for SAT and Regents exams. That is the real secret to our academic successes.

    I think it is time for someone to publish the salaries of teachers in the district. I think that residents will be shocked to learn what they are. I recall many years ago, finding out that the kindergarten music teacher made $110,000.00 a year. That goes back around a decade ago.


  • Anon E Mous

    Negotiating – The MUFSD’s Counter-proposal: Each MTA member gets the same compensation adjustment for the upcoming year (computed based on the member’s current year number) as the Assemblyperson for the area took this year.

    No other changes to the contract now. Next year we’ll discuss next year. And, everything is on the table when the current contract expires. Too much we ask, you say, remember, certain financial events invalidate contracts.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. – Ghandi

  • Disappointed

    Anon E Mous- you have been calling for a “NO” vote since this budget was first revealed … it has been cleaned up and pared down. If the community votes the budget down (twice) and achieves a -0.4% contingency budget, what will the we have “won?” Without the teachers offering a concession (and they seem to not want to do you have pointed out, they can pay the community back our losses in their next contract…or walk, who cares, as there are thousands of laid off teachers) …a -0.4% budget will be felt most acutely by the children in the classroom. The community will have no say in where the next few million of cuts come from…is that what you want? Is that the best thing for the community? I can’t figure out what this will solve. Isn’t it time for the community to focus on the contract negotiations and attempt to free ourselves from this march towards bankruptcy led by the teacher’s union?

    • Eleanor

      “Incentives don’t work. It insures mediocrity.

      “Excessive reliance on incentives demoralizes performance.”

      The questions to ask are:

      1. Are our teachers adequately paid? Answer: “definitely yes, since the average teacher earns $115,000 in our district.

      2. If we increase teacher’s salary by 4% percent, would this create a better teacher, or benefit our students?
      Answer: No

      3. If we increase our taxes, will that benefit our residents? Answer: No. It may force residents to leave.


  • Anon E Mous

    Disappointed, you are in name, others in your acceptance of what is.

    The community has just been through and is continuing in a ‘fiscal’ exercise. One in which through ‘market research’ an attempt has been made to see what a majority of those who will vote would likely approve.

    Those who say ‘NO’ have so far achieved a significant reduction in the proposed school tax increase. Still an increase that many of our neighbors can ill afford.

    There is nothing obvious that the ‘budget’, a prediction, has been tested for the likelihood that its revenue and expense projections will be accurate. Has the MUFSD effectively manipulated a ‘balanced budget’ based on the projections?

    There is nothing obvious that the ‘budget’ will provide for a better education than a budget X% lower. The District doesn’t measure education delivered and doesn’t measure much those who deliver it. It just measures students, who can be expected on average, coming from a relatively high socioeconomic community, to ‘score’ well in school regardless of the education delivered.

    You’re correct, the Mamaroneck Teachers Association and many others want to ‘take’ – entitlement – while fewer want to give. Simply, most want to redistribute ‘wealth’, but have their own sense of the proper redistribution.

    Yes, many are in favor of eliminating ‘waste’. But few can identify waste, other than perhaps that which doesn’t benefit them.

    You say that the MTA doesn’t want to offer a concession, but you assume that can’t be influenced. Don’t assume, as many know what assume means.

    You say that a ‘contingency budget’ will be felt most by the children in the classroom and we can fix the problem next year, or the following year. Will your children be out of the schools then and will you be leaving the community then?

    If we’ve ‘cut to the bone’ this year, what will we do next year when contractual salary and benefit increases would result in a significantly higher expense side of the budget and would require a significant school tax increase?

    You assume, that the MTA will concede when the contract is up for renegotiation, but what evidence do you have that the District will have the skill and willpower to achieve a better contract then, than it did before and is doing now in achieving the cooperation of the MTA?

    How do you propose to deal with educating students when those staff you say will ‘walk’. Has the District looked seriously at how education can be delivered at less cost by functioning differently. Actually has our District seriously looked at what education it is currently delivering? But perhaps, you’ll be ‘walking’ away too.

    Leaving the ‘debt’ and problem to the future of the students now in the schools and to those residents who remain in the community doesn’t put the students and your neighbors first. Actually, it may put them last.

    Its time NOW for the District and the community to focus on a solution for today; not for continuing to hope that the future will provide the solutions. The future may be too late. And so those who really care about the students and the community, will VOTE NO on May 18th. Good luck to us all.

    The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. – Confucius

  • Need some help

    Can someone please copy/paste the district’s salaries for all to review. I had difficulty doing it and need some help. This is important information for residents to understand where and how our taxes are being used. This information should be disclosed.

  • Remarkable

    Thumbs up for Eleanor’s statement: More money doesn’t create better teachers; More money creates more greed….just take a look at Wall Street today, specifically, Goldman Whacks….errr.. Sachs. Oh boy, we’re in for a long ride….a la Enron. All in the name of what else? Money!!!

  • Long Time Larchmonter

    As a second generational Larchmonter since 1976, now raising two children within the school district I am appalled by the budget being put forward as a result of union concessions and the funds being spent to study a princeton program.

    The Mamaroneck Teachers Union needs to get back in touch with reality where not everyone receives a 5%+ increase on a YOY basis with a near minimal contribution to health care and pension costs. In most industries you are told what your contribution will be and if you don’t like it you may choose to move on to a different employer. The teachers union, administrators and the persons running the school all need to make sacrifices during these hard times especially if you ask people to reach into their pocket to pay additional tax levies.

    The Princeton plan being put forward is a waste of time which will further devalue our properties resulting in lower tax assessments and an additional tax burden relative to the value of the homes. This plan will cause great inconvenience to working parents (many of whom move here for neighborhood schools) and an added cost for transportation for both the schools and the parents.

    Longer term the writing on the wall is evident that persons living in the Larchmont/Mamaroneck community will begin to choose private schools or move elsewhere as they have the economic power of choice.

    If you do not act now to bring the teachers union back to reality this year or next year when the contract is up you will be facing a mass exodus the likes of which you may have never seen before.

    My wife & I along with our neighbors fully intend on voting no to the school budget this May unless the teachers share in the sacrifices. The tag line is always “children first” until you ask a teacher or administrator to make a sacrifice. That being said eliminating aids while it may go unnoticed as grave consequences to the children and teachers remaining in the class room.