PORT CHESTER, N.Y. In response to the massive proposed budget cuts facing the Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District to stay within the state 2 percent property tax cap levy , administrators from Port Chester's six schools agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement with the board of education on Tuesday afternoon that reduces their salary increases through 2015.
The 15 school administrators, known as the Port Chester School Administrators and Supervisors Association (PCSASA), unanimously agreed to a 1 percent annual salary increase starting with the 2012-13 school year.
Under current state legislation known as the Triborough Amendment, administrators are entitled to, at minimum, a 2-3 percent annual salary increase by default.
In addition, the administrators also agreed to switch to one single insurance carrier, State-wide Schools Cooperative Health Plan, instead of choosing from three. The group still has the option to choose either Aetna or Oxford health care plans but must "pay up" the difference.
"Our administrators and supervisors recognize the difficult economic times we are facing and are committed to putting our students first by agreeing to significant salary and health concessions in order to preserve our existing programs," school board President Blanca Lopez said.
Patrick Swift, PCSASA representative and middle school principal, said the group acted quickly.
"We saw what was happening and we all got in this business for children," Swift said. "In the best interest of Port Chester, we came together and every administrator wanted to do this. We consider Port Chester family and we have to take care of our own."
Swift, Lopez and Superintendent Edward Kliszus hope that the actions taken by the school administrators set a precedent that will be absorbed by the teachers.
"Now it's up to the next unit to look up to you and follow in your footsteps," Board member Anne Capeci said.
The district did not release a concrete savings figure to members of the media and wouldn't speculate on the significance of the amount saved, but a media release with savings figures is expected to be released this evening.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.