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NY Mills teachers, district reach agreement

New York Mills teachers and the school district reached an agreement on the 2009-11 two-year contract which includes a zero percent increase in salaries and benefits over two years. The teachers ratified the contract with a vote last Friday, and on Monday the school board unanimously approved the agreement during a special meeting.

According to the new contract, the teachers will see a 2.2 percent built-in step increase over two years, based on experience. Salaries and benefits, including district payment toward health insurance premiums, retiree insurance, and severance, were all frozen.

Rachel Grieger, conducting her first meeting as board president, commented following the decision, "The negotiations were very respectful on both sides and the teachers understood the financial limitations of the district, willing to not take an increase over the schedule."

By the two sides reaching an agreement this week, prior to the Jan. 15 deadline, the district avoids financial penalty.

"In accepting a soft freeze for both years, we see no salary schedule improvement and we are working with the district to maintain programs without additional salary costs to the district," said Matt Radniecki, negotiator for the teachers union.  "We hope that by accepting a soft freeze we are making the public aware that all school employees are working together to keep programs and resources available to students when the state is facing difficult economic times." 

Radniecki added that he appreciates the dialogue between the board and negotiators and thanks board members for listening and respecting the teachers' concerns during negotiations. 

"It was a good process in difficult economic times," Radniecki said. "We are working together to keep costs down and programs available for students."