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Pleasantville Teachers Take Two-Year Pay Freeze

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – The teachers in the Pleasantville Union Free School District agreed to take a two-year pay freeze and an increase in contributions to their health insurance Monday afternoon after signing a new contract with the district.  The contract will save the district $200,000 a year in teacher salaries, with a potential savings of $1 million over the next five years.

“It was a very difficult and long road negotiating.  It wasn’t easy but the teachers realize that these are the economic times that we have to deal with,” said the  collective bargaining unit president Lorraine Kearney, a science teacher in Pleasantville High School.  “At the same time we have families and mortgages to pay and things like that so it’s tough.”

The contract was announced and approved by the Board of Education Monday night at a special meeting at Pleasantville High School.  The contract goes into effect on Feb. 1 and will expire on June 30, 2013.  No teacher in the district will receive a pay increase in the step schedule during the two years of the contract.  The 2011-12 year will be a true freeze, and in the 2012-13 year teachers will receive a cash bonus of either $1,250 or one percent of their current salary, whichever is greater.  Teaching assistants will also receive no increase in pay during the 2011-12 school year and a 1.9 percent pay increase in 2012-13.  Health insurance for all teachers in the unit will also increase by $200 per year for a family plan and $100 a year for an individual.

Negotiations for a new contract began in the winter of the 2010-11 school year.  A deal was agreed upon after both sides declared an impasse and met for three sessions with an outside mediator.

Lois Winkler, president of the Pleasantville Board of Education, praised the teachers for their sacrifice.

“Our teachers are part of this community and I think what we’re seeing with this agreement is that we have a very responsible group of staff members who truly care about our children and our community,” Winkler said.  “And we’re all in this economic struggle together.”

Board of Education member Thomas Exton said this new contract is a great start for ensuring that the district’s upcoming budget remains under the two percent tax levy cap.

“I’m really delighted that the teachers have been listening to the concerns of the community,” Exton said.  “I can’t emphasize enough how great of a deal this is for the community.”

The district’s 2012-13 budget will be complete and available on April 24.

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