New teacher contract details not yet final, but no raises coming in 2012-13 school year

Greenport teachers have agreed to a wage freeze for the 2012-13 school year as part of a new contract that will run through 2018, with 2 percent salary increases in each of the other years of the contract.

The district’s contract with teachers expired June 30, according to board president Tina Volinski. Negotiations have been under way between Superintendent Michael Comanda and Greenport Teachers Association president Gordon Haas since December 2010.

“It comes at a good time,” Mr. Comanda said about the freeze, which will hold teachers’ salaries flat with no step increases or annual raises in the 2012-13 school year.

“This is a true, hard pay freeze,” Mr. Comanda said.

Given the state-imposed 2 percent tax cap, it will help the district budget at a difficult time, he said.

Other provisions in the contract provide 90 percent payment for employees’ health insurance coverage, except for those hired after July 1, 2011, who will receive 80 percent of their health insurance premiums paid by the district.

Hold line on lunch costs

Board members agreed at their Aug. 17 meeting to hold the line at $1.75 for school lunches. The federal government is pushing districts to gradually work up to a point where they charge at least $2.46 for school lunch. A directive asked for a five-cent increase for the upcoming school term, but didn’t mandate it, according to the district clerk Diana Duell, who said the state’s interest is in assuring that those who pay for their lunches aren’t being subsidized by federal government money meant to pay for food for low-income students. The state is providing money to districts to cover the five-cent increase int eh 2011-12 school year, according to an SED memorandum. But after that, districts will bre expected to raise prices.

But there’s no indication of what penalties might apply if a district doesn’t raise its school lunch price, Ms. Duell said. “This year, you’re all right,” she assured board members at last week’s meeting, but then added, “You will not be in compliance and what that means, I don’t know.”

School aide Maryann Jaeger pointed out that in Greenport, there are a number of students who don’t receive lunch subsidies, but whose families are on the line and the extra nickle could be substantial in their budgets.

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