PORT CHESTER, N.Y. Contract negotiations between the Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District's Board of Education and the Port Chester Teachers Association broke down on Wednesday.
According to a release distributed by the district, the PCTA unilaterally declared an impasse, with the district following. The two parties agreed that Louis Patack would serve as the mediator.
"We value our teachers. They are dedicated and work very hard to ensure an excellent education for our students," Board of Education President Blanca Lopez said. "The board has always wanted to reach a fair and equitable settlement with the PCTA, while taking steps to deal with the massive reductions in funding that have been imposed upon the district. Unfortunately, the economic conditions have made this agreement difficult to settle."
According to Lopez, the two parties have been locked in negotiations since July 2011. The district's $2.1 million budget deficit has been reduced after the district's administrators and CSEA bargaining units settled for decreased raises and switched to a single insurance provider. Lopez and the rest of the board hoped that the teachers union would eventually follow suit.
"The PCTA is privy to financial data that lays out both the short- and long-term financial challenges facing the district," Lopez said. "Given the limited resources of our taxpayers and the considerable challenges resulting from the new tax levy cap law and reductions in state aid, it is critical that teacher wage and benefit cost increases reflect a sustainable pace."
The board, which will will meet on Thursday, announced Tuesday that the newest amendments to the budget propose keeping full-day kindergarten intact.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.