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A Year Later TAL, BOE Continue Contract Talks

TAL President Rose Russo says Lindenhurst Board of Education and teachers' union haven’t reached a ‘fair agreement’ yet.

It's been almost a  since the TAL (teachers' union) contract with Lindenhurst  has expired.

And it's now been three years that TAL has been in with the Lindenhurst Board of Education, according to Rose Russo, president of the union.

She told Lindenhurst Patch after the most  BOE  that TAL and the board .

"We've offered things, and the board's offered things. We've been going back and forth," Russo said, who declined to comment on specifics, as per New York state law ( and ) that prohibits either side from publicly stating specifics of these negotiations.

"We've been going back and forth. And we've been talking for three years now, since  was here," she said, referring to the person who immediately preceded current Superintendent Richard Nathan.

As president of TAL, Russo is at the helm of one of six bargaining units in the district, and it's the largest. It's also one of five units that are in contract talks, and the contract of the sixth unit - the custodians - is set to expire this June.

There's been much talk in the community at BOE meetings, and in comments on Lindenhurst Patch articles about the , about contract talks - and the negotiations between the teachers and the BOE, in particular.

They've questioned the BOE at meetings and have made comments that the board needs to get tougher in its talks.

The board's been careful about what it said in response - especially after last year when 300 teachers walked out of a school budget workshop following what Russo and many of her teacher constituents felt was a public challenge by BOE President Ed Murphy, Jr. to take a true zero (or pay freeze) with no steps or increments to help save program and instructional jobs.

(Read more about that meeting .)

Tensions  in the community following the meeting, with many residents left feeling the union wasn't on board with helping the community and preserving program and jobs.

Some of those tensions seem to have resurfaced during this year's budget process at workshops and BOE meetings, with many  and  feeling it's now time for teachers to  - especially in the face of the  and the on-going economic struggles of many in the Lindenhurst community.

Many residents have also mentioned teachers' unions in other districts have given some concessions on  and .

However, by and large, Russo and the rest of the TAL brass have really kept mum at this year's budget workshops and regular BOE meetings.

When asked about what other districts' teachers' unions have done, Russo again declined to speak to the specifics.

"Yes, we've offered things, but I'm not going to say what we've offered," she said.

She added talks are on-going, but "we haven't come to a fair agreement yet."

As for the BOE it "remains hopeful" an agreement will be reached.

In fact contract talks were briefly discussed at the   when former BOE Member Robert Spero  the status of the negotiations.

Murphy said at the time, "We continue to negotiate, and we continue to be hopeful."

BOE Member Ray Doran added: "We've made some positive inroads with some of the units."

 

Editor's Note: Don't forget to share your thoughts and concerns about this year's budget process for the with Lindenhurst Patch on the site in the comments section of articles about the topic like this one, on Facebook and Twitter, and by e-mailing barbara.loehr@patch.com with an opinion piece.

Lindy Mom May 04, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Here is a novel idea, get rid of them all and start fresh.... Why won't anyone fight Russo on this. Because those who get to keep their jobs as Burke says still get increases, so they are happy to sell the newbie under the bus, but if it went from top down instead, boy would things change. Keep the new get rid of the old. We have way to many teachers that should of retired long ago and are not effective anymore. I've seen it first hand.
Cindy Lou Who May 10, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I see that there is protection for the teacher, but what about the children? Who will protect that they will have the quality education we believe they should have? Apparently the teachers union feels that they deserve much more than what the children do. I believe that if you really, truly cared about the children in our district and the quality of education they receive, then bigger concessions can be made. Do they realize the state of the economy, the amount of people struggling to get by? They want their raises, but what about families that don't get raises, and can't afford the increase in taxes? The teachers union gets when the district gets, but the district ain't getting much lately. They say they are in talks, that they are trying, but they are trying to get everything they want with many sacrifices to the children. And while there are many people that feel one way or another about the loss of programs, sports, kindergarten, etc., it still affects children. Without the children, the teachers would have no job! I have been fortunate enough to have many great teachers at the K-5 level & MS and HS as well, but there have been a few that I could have done without. Yet, those teachers that do a less than adequate job still have those great health benefits and raises every year just as the teachers who may do a wonderful job and deserve it. Why? Because they are protected by a union. Something doesn't feel right here.
mary May 10, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Well said Cindy Lou..I could not agree more. Unions are settling all over L.I. Every day in Newsday you read about another teacher's union giving back to the community. Farmingdale, W. Babylon, Freeport, Garden City, Smiththown, and now S. Huntington, to name a few. In addition, many teacher's unions settled last year. When will this union settle? When there is nothing left for the kids? When all program are gone. Enough is enough...
Michelle U May 13, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Over the years Lind Teachers have enjoyed very tough Union negotiaters. Stanley Rosenthal was kept on years as he continued to teach one or two classes a year. Now we have MS. Russo. I think the teachers deserve a fair contract (my daughter being one of the young teachers who gets a layoff notice every year despite glowing reviews). But I also know taxpayers cant carry much more tax burden. My taxes were $1500 a year in 1984, now they are over $10,000. Much of that is school taxes. Our teachers union must leave the perks of the 80's and 90's and get more in line with the current economic picture we live in. Contributing more to their health plan, making step raises more difficult to obtain (tied to higher degrees, not just credits) and cost of living raises held in check for a couple of years as well as less reimbursement for extra duties. I have to really work for my pay level. Including taking 25 hours of CEU"s yearly, community service, and membership in national orgaizations as well as participation in several in house councils . All on top of working my 40 hours a week , giving up my free time to accomplish these extras. I know teachers are taxpayers too, and many live in our community. We want them to be happy so they can teach our children, but soon there wont be anyone to teach because all the young families will continue to move off Long Island.
Michelle U May 13, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Why do we need drastic measures, like closing schools? We just need fair contracts with all teachers input, not just a few tough negotiators. Are the teachers polled to see what they want? Bet most of them would give up a little to keep more teachers employed. And maybe we need to have some of the older teachers, who probably would have retired, except for the economy, offered packages to help them be able to retire.. we can pay 2 entry level teachers with fresh ideas for every one that is able to retire.

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