RYE BROOK, N.Y. -- The Blind Brook school district has approved a new contract with the teachers union after more than two years of negotiations.
The district signed a memorandum of agreement with the Blind Brook-Rye Federation of Teachers, which represents 147 teachers, teaching assistants, guidance counselors, occupational therapists and speech pathologists. The two parties have been negotiating over a new contract since the last one expired at the end of June 2011. Later that year the union filed a grievance claiming that the district refused to conduct a review of the health-insurance contribution plan. That grievance will be withdrawn as part of the new agreement.
The new collective bargaining agreement is effective from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2016. During the 2013-14 school year, there will be a hard freeze of teachers' salaries, meaning that teachers will not advance a step on the salary schedule. However, each teacher will receive a one-time payment of 1.1 percent of their base salary.
For the remaining two years of the contract, teachers will be allowed to advance on the salary schedule. Additionally, each year the salary schedule will be increased 0.8 percent on each step.
"I think that we are all very glad that we're moving into a new phase, improving our relationships, our communications with each other," said Robin Willig, president of the Blind Brook-Rye Federation of Teachers. "It's good for us, it's good for the children, and it's good for the community."
"The agreement takes into account the difficult financial times and the recently [state] enacted tax cap," said Board of Education President Nancy Barr. She said the contract will save the district money over the next three years. "At the same time, it provides total compensation for federation members that is comparable to other districts, allowing us to continue to attract and retain the most qualified and dedicated faculty."