The latest iteration of the Mamaroneck School budget for 2010-2011 does not include any contract concessions from the Mamaroneck Teachers’ Association. Dueling press releases issued on Thursday, April 15 provide details, for the first time, on what the MTA has offered: teachers would forgo a portion of their contractual raise in return for a two-year extension of the contract, which expires at the end of June, 2011.
The MTA blasted the district for failing to respond to its “generous offer” while the district lambasted the proposal as “detrimental to the future health of our district.”
The MTA release, issued at around 5 pm, calls for giving back “more than 1.14% of their contracted raise for the 2010-2011 school year, in exchange for a two-year contract extension.” According to the MTA, this would save $650,000 next year, and is “comparable to agreements reached in Scarsdale, Pelham, White Plains, Pocantico Hills, Eastchester, Nyack, and Somers school districts.”
Last year, in a difficult financial climate, the MTA gave back $250,000, which the district accepted, but there were no contractual “strings” attached.
The district release, which appeared shortly after the one from the MTA, characterizes the MTA offer somewhat differently: “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.” (The district website has more salary details.)
Although the release leaves unsaid exactly what modifications the district is looking for in its next contract, it mentions wanting to have greater flexibility to make “operational changes that would have potential cost savings.”
According to the MTA, the board of education is “being shortsighted in rejecting this generous proposal as it offers well-needed funds for the short term, and stability for the next three years.”
Accepting the offer – the bird in the hand – would help reduce this year’s budget increase or allow for the restoration of positions or programs that have been cut.
The district, on the other hand, views accepting the offer as dooming the district to tax rate increases of “more than eight percent for each of the two contract extension years.”
Further, the budget has already been reduced significantly – resulting in a “1.22% budget-to-budget increase and a 2.08% tax rate increase, the lowest in memorable history and possibly ever,” according to the district release.
The administration is acting like it’s happy with the bird already in hand – and may be counting on bagging an additional bird or two during upcoming contract negotiations.
In any case, the hostile tone of the back-to-back releases suggest that the two sides have a long way to go in finding a mutually agreeable formula – and there is not a lot of time left to find common ground. The board has until April 20 to adopt the final budget it will propose to the community for a vote on May 18.