Featured Story
04/21/17 6:00am

After nearly three years without a contract, the Mattituck Board of Education and Mattituck-Cutchogue Teachers Association have reached an agreement.

Approved unanimously Wednesday evening, the nine-year contract retroactively covers the 2014-15 school year and extends through June 2023, school board vice president Charles Anderson said.

“We’re very happy about it,” school board president Laura Jens-Smith said in a telephone interview prior to the meeting.

In the 2017-18 academic year, there will be a one percent increase on all frozen steps. Over the following three school years there will be both a one percent increase on all frozen steps and a 0.5 percent increase on all other steps.

All steps will receive a 0.5 percent increase in the final two years of the deal, according to Mr. Anderson.

Additionally, teachers agreed to contribute 1 percent more to health coverage for three consecutive years beginning in the 2018-19 school year, so by the end of 2021 they will contribute 18 percent, he said. They also agreed to switch dental insurance plans, saving the district money and putting teachers, administrators and CSEA employees all under the same plan.

One of the most beneficial parts of the new contract, however, isn’t financial, Mr. Anderson added.

“One thing we really like is teachers at the high school have agreed to be available for extra help four days a week,” he said. “It was difficult before to have only two days a week. Let’s say someone needed help in math and science and they were both on Monday night, they had to make a choice. Now that they have a choice of Monday or Wednesday, or however we set it up, they’ll be able to get help in every subject.”

He acknowledged the lengthy negotiation process, calling it “arduous and frustrating,” but commended the board and teacher’s union for respectfully working together.

“I think we came up with a solid contract that benefits everyone and I want to thank the MCTA and thank the rest of the board and I think it’ll be very good going forward,” Mr. Anderson said.  

Photo Caption: Mattituck Board of Education vice president Charles Anderson at Thursday’s meeting (Credit: Nicole Smith).

[email protected]

05/23/13 10:05pm
05/23/2013 10:05 PM

FILE PHOTO | Mattituck school board president Jerry Diffley, left, and superintendent James McKenna.

To the Editor:

I rarely, if ever, weigh in publicly on these debates, but this one deserves a swift reply. The Suffolk Times could not be further from the truth on this. (Read our editorial here.)

First, in response to the request the evening of the election, I, as President of the Board of Education, stated that the list was very long and would not make sense to read aloud. The reason for this was the simple fact that by law you must record every single variation of a write-in vote, so while “John Doe” may have received twenty votes, “J. Doe” may have received six, and “Doe” may have received 10. No assumptions can be made that these are all the same people.

To read the separate entries aloud would have caused great confusion and served little-to-no purpose. Secondly, and more importantly, Tuesday night’s vote was unprecedented for Mattituck-Cutchogue given the high number and variety of write-ins. While Mr. Smith enjoyed a large margin and was by far the winner, we as a district had questions concerning how to release the write-ins. For example: Do you release the actual sheet you recorded them on or are you permitted to type them and release the typed tally? These questions are best answered after consultation with legal counsel so that the public interest is well served and well protected.

That, Suffolk Times, is why a FOIL request is appropriate. Your assertion that FOIL requests are reserved to keep information out of the public domain is nothing short of inflammatory and meant only to sell newspapers.

I think you owe the District an apology.

 Jerry Diffley, President, Mattituck Cutchogue School Board

05/17/2013 4:00 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The Mattituck school board met Thursday night and discussed facility improvement plans.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The Mattituck school board met Thursday night and discussed facility improvement plans. Displayed is a student art project made of snowboards.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education discussed facility improvement plans during its regular meeting Thursday night.

The board members present unanimously approved a $17,920 donation from the Mattituck-Cutchogue Athletic Booster Club to purchase several pieces of equipment. School board vice president Charles Anderson was absent from the meeting.

The district plans to purchase scoreboards for the varsity softball field and junior varsity soccer field, five iPads for coaches to use for stats and recording plays, 22 coolers and various signage, according to school documents. The district is also expected to take care of grub infestation found at the high school and Cutchogue West athletic fields.

School board member Douglas Cooper, who chairs the board’s buildings, safety and grounds committee, withdrew a resolution at the meeting to approve a $89,000 contract with Paza Contracting to paint the junior high school’s exterior. He said the bid came in about $20,000 higher than the district had budgeted for.

As for the high school auditorium, the school board unanimously approved a $19,671 contract with Theatrical Services to install new lighting.

[email protected]

04/18/2013 5:30 PM
THE SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | The Mattituck-Cutchogue school board is expected to adopt Superintendent James McKenna's proposed budget tonight.

THE SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | The Mattituck-Cutchogue school board adopted Superintendent James McKenna’s proposed budget Thursday night.

The Mattituck Board of Education adopted Superintendent James McKenna’s proposed $38.85 million budget Thursday night, which carries an estimated 3.28 percent increase to next year’s tax levy.

His spending plan is a $853,139 increase compared to the current school year’s budget and calls for not replacing some retired teacher jobs, consolidating a few positions and laying off others. The staff reduction for the 2013-14 school year will be the “equivalency of 6.5 full-time” employees, Mr. McKenna said.

One position that was slated to be cut was a science specialist at Cutchogue East Elementary School, but was restored Thursday night after school board members expressed concern about the reduction.

The majority of programs — such as AP courses, BOCES and NJROTC — are included in the proposed spending plan.

As for next year’s tax hike, Mr. McKenna said the estimated 3.28 percent increase is below the state-mandated tax levy cap.

While a state law passed in 2011 caps year-to-year increases in the tax levy — the total amount the district collects from taxpayers — at 2 percent, the district is allowed to exceed the state’s mandate because some expenses such as pensions and capital costs are exempt.

Mr. McKenna said Mattituck is allowed to raise the tax levy to 3.65 percent without obtaining 60 percent voter approval. However, Mr. McKenna and the school board agreed to present a budget to residents below that amount.

“I think we’ve made an attempt to try to understand the needs of the taxpayers at the same time trying not to put ourselves in a position where we’d hurt ourselves in the future,” he said during the meeting.

With the addition of unanticipated state aid secured last month, coupled with various district spending reductions, several positions that were on the chopping block have since been restored in Mr. McKenna’s spending plan.

The extra state aid wasn’t anticipated when Governor Andrew Cuomo released his tentative state budget in January in Albany.

Mr. Cuomo’s proposed spending plan had earmarked about $2.21 million in state aid for the Mattituck district for the 2013-14 school year, which would have been an 10.05 percent decrease over the current school year. Two months later, the state Legislature secured an 8.22 percent boost, totaling nearly $2.66 million.

The school board voted 5-0 to approve next year’s spending plan. School board president Gerard Diffley and school board member Laura Jens-Smith were absent from the meeting.

The proposed budget will go before voters May 21.

Scroll down to view the complete agenda. Read more in the April 25 issue of The Suffolk Times in both our print and electronic editions.

Mattituck-Cutchogue school board meeting agenda, April 18, 2013