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TAL Taken to Task at School Budget Meeting

All eyes are once again on contract talks with the teachers' union as Lindenhurst heads into school budget season.

Now that the Lindenhurst School District has settled the first of six employee unit contracts - the custodian contract - all eyes have turned once again to contract talks with the largest of the five remaining bargaining units: the teachers' union.

It's been six months since the Lindenhurst Board of Education declared an impasse in its talks with TAL - which have been happening for a couple of years now since the current contract expired on June 30, 2011.

"We're still hopeful about the teachers," BOE President Hochman told Lindenhurst Patch after the Community Input Night: Budget Overview on Wednesday night where Superintendent Richard Nathan presented the first look at the upcoming budget and challenges the District's facing in a post-Hurricane Sandy and post-tax cap world.

(Look for a story to come about the 2013-14 budget outlook.)

The community, on the other hand, wasn't as hopeful - and many took TAL to task.

Taking TAL to Task
In laying out some of the budget challenges moving forward, Nathan once again pointed to the Triborough Amendment - debated at and discussed after last year's Legislative Breakfast - and how it prevents employers from altering the terms and conditions of employment for unionized employees when their contracts run out.

He used the teachers' salary as an example, explaining because of the amendment the District is obligated to continue to pay the teachers their step and lane increases.

He put those increases at $1.7 million (steps) and $300,000 (lanes) for 2013-14.

"So that's another $2 million if we can't negotiate a contract," the superintendent said.

"It's very difficult," Assistant Superintendent of Business Jackie Scrio added. "They'd have to take less than they'd get by doing nothing. The law has prevented us, and them, from being equal on both sides."

BOE Trustee Ed Langone agreed with that assessment, and said if the teachers took a freeze in 2013-14, then it'd save the District a couple of million.

He said we'd "probably" be able to save a lot of programs and be "under the cap," which on Wednesday Nathan put at 3.44 percent at the start of this year's budget season. That percentage is based on New York State's tax cap formula for school districts.

However, Hochman told Patch while it'd save about $3 million, it'd be a one-time only fix. The contract really needs to be settled.

John Lisi - who spoke on behalf of himself and Denis Garbo, who couldn't attend the meeting - appealed to TAL to make some "meaningful concessions," and thanked the union for their "serious consideration" of this request.

Linda McKee dubbed this a "morality issue," and called for compromise on both sides. "Are you in it for the dimes or for the kids?" she asked.

She added, "Triborough isn't the evil. Greed - that's the evil."

One resident felt, "They're playing a pencil game with us."

Another resident said, "I like the teachers. I was in a union. I understand...but this community is getting hammered."

TAL Reaction
After the February 20 school budget meeting TAL President Rose Russo had no other comment about what was said or about contract talks except to say the teachers' union is "still working to talk to the District. And we have been talking with them."

 

Related Coverage:

  • TAL Taken to Task at School Budget Meeting
  • Lindenhurst School District Settles Custodian Contract
  • Lindy BOE Moves to Mediation in Talks with TAL
  • Hochman Elected Lindenhurst Board of Education President
  • Tensions Linger Months after Lindenhurst Teacher Walkout
  • Lindenhurst Teachers Walk Out of School Budget Meeting

 

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peach is February 22, 2013 at 01:45 PM
Richard Nathan makes $277,264 a year and Jackie Scrio makes $157,776 (as of 2012). Where are their wage freezes and givebacks? Are they in it for the dimes or the kids?
Marbarry February 22, 2013 at 03:37 PM
There are two principals in the high school. A combined $300k plus.
Flo February 23, 2013 at 04:00 AM
If the public knew of the perks the superintendent receives besides his huge salary there would and should be an enormous outcry! This needs to be made public!
peach is February 23, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Nathan's contract is public record: http://qvs.visiblegovernment.us/seethroughNY.net/contracts/school-contracts/Lindenhursts063012.pdf
Michelle Greenberg Bornemann February 23, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Flo, Please, tell what you know. We actually need everybody to give a little. Everybody is getting more and more. Yet, people who are not working for the school system haven't received raises, some in 5 years. How can people who have not been making this money give this money in taxes? I was told Richard Nathan took a pay freeze this year. I do feel we have an extremely large administration for a district that is hurting right now. The children should come first. Instead of helping by figuring things out on how to save and getting rid of large, unnecessary things, cutting administration, stop calling in all types of outside help and services, stopping so much paper usage (besides the HS and MS report cards). What do they do? They pick on the people who make the least. If your child is in need of an aide or has an aide in their class that helps them, they may not after this year. Now our children will struggle more as if all of the NYS requirements haven't been hard enough. There is just so much that can go that is not helping our children at all. The school District would not be here if it was not for the children. The children can not learn without the teachers and due to so many children that are struggling and such large class size; the teachers need help from the aides. That is what should come first in all major financial decisions made by a school district. Anything else is what we should be working with to help save money.
Michelle Greenberg Bornemann February 24, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Just looked at the contract. 22 days of vacation? Really? And a car? 12 sick days and 3 personal? And the kids in MS and HS are only allowed 20 sick days? And teachers and Aides are reprimanded after horrible incidences for being out more than 6 or 7? Something is wrong with this picture. Oh wait a cell phone and 100% Life medical, and Dental contributed by the district. Lucky there is just one superintendent. Wondering what the assistant superintendents contract and the superintendents of all the departments, yes, we have that as well.
Lindy Mom February 25, 2013 at 04:37 PM
If the School Board and TAL went to mediation months ago, on tax payer dollars, why have we not heard anything back on this. What was the outcome. Seems here we are back at square one, where my kids lose, I pay more and nothing gets done. Teachers, Administrators etc all need to take a good hard look around Lindy. We are not in good shape, and are pockets are empty. Sandy hit us bad, and if the teachers think that by coming down our streets with food etc, will make us change our minds, Sorry, you are very wrong. Pay into your healthcare, you can't take it with you when you leave this is whats hurting us, all the perks after retirement as well. Oh and ask you kids how many of their teachers were in school during our non-break week. Didn't stop them from continuing with their agendas. Remember you can't get blood from a stone, or money from residents who haven't had raises, healthcare, or jobs. Open you Eyes beyond the school doors.
Marbarry February 25, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Maybe we just need a new board of Ed. I mean really, what qualifications do these people even have. It's a wonderful service to the community that they do. After all they do not receive payment for their time. For years now we have heard the same story from this board. Maybe we need better negitiators. It seems they have tried to humiliate the teachers into taking freezes. On what planet is that an effective strategy. Let me punch you in the face and the ask you nicely to hand over your money.
Lindy Mom February 26, 2013 at 11:52 PM
The problem doesn't fall with this school board or their lack of negotiating skills. (Well it might), but if falls with the boards of years prior the ones who have big mouths now to complain, but are the reasons we are in this problem. There horrible contract negotiations gave TAL the upper hand and they aren't bugging. TAL isn't stupid, they are still getting the STEP increases etc. So even with out a contract their salaries are increasing. Just like the taxpayers right. I think not. So they know what they are doing, don't let anyone fool you.
JP March 03, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Well it is nice to see someone is paying attention. Members of the current board decided demonize teachers 4 yrs ago. A tactic that has shown very little reward, and the board has continued the same tactic year after year with little result. Maybe the problem is not the teachers but a misguided and ineffective board. What have they accomplished? They have squandered reserves, laid off or not replaced 80 teachers, laid off support staff, administrators, eliminated electives,cut sports and threatened kindergarten. When is it enough. It is becoming obvious this board has no idea how to solve problems. All they have shown is how to be a bully, and cut cut cut. It is time for them to go. There are four seats up for grabs this May. Lets take back our schools.
Michelle Greenberg Bornemann March 03, 2013 at 06:27 PM
I do not believe the problem is the board. I believe the problem is administration. Word in the schools now is that they want to change everything around. If your child is receiving help from an aide in any way in class, they may not be anymore. If your child is in a regular class or inclusion and has an iep, they may end up in a special ed class. They are trying again to make a temporary fix, this time by getting rid of the lowest paid on the bracket. The aides do not even receive benefits. I am not talking about our 2 hour lunch aides either. They also are threatening kindergarten full day, once again. How can we do half day? Our children are being taught addition, subtraction and must read and write sentences by 1st grade. How does the district pay for outsiders to come in and "train" the teachers, administration or even parents? Shouldn't those things be done by insiders at a time like this? What about the endless paper? So MS and HS report cards are online and a million other things come home a week. Mistakes are made and seconds are printed, sometimes for 600 students.
Michelle Greenberg Bornemann March 03, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Even PTA letters come home are 5 to 10 pages, going to 400 - 2000 students depending on the school. I read them, but 90% do not. Any extra perks should be gone until things are better. I do not mean for the children, I mean like lunches and stuff for administration, etc. The people making decisions are never inside a classroom, how do they know what the children need? They don't, but they know what they need to do to protect themselves and what they don't want to lose. TAL needs to help out a little for once. Who do you know that has received a raise in the past 5 years? Taxpayers are not receiving raises, so how can they pay more? Administration is up there, but they are not who is teaching and helping our children, yet most there make the most money in the district. Major companies have cut down on administration over the years. Why? Because a company needs those who are doing the "service" necessary first, without those workers there is no company. Without teachers and students there is no school. With 24 plus children in a class and so many having a tough time with the new state standards a teacher needs the help of the Aides in the classroom. With so many children not doing as well as in the past we must keep our special education support, resource, social workers, speech etc. are a necessity. It's sad, the whole thing is devastating.
Michelle Greenberg Bornemann March 03, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Let's take back our schools, is right. People need to fight for the children and nothing else. Maybe we should look into Charter School ideas for the neighborhood. Any ideas?
Michelle Greenberg Bornemann March 03, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Oh and some on the board of ed have more qualifications than those on administration. How? They have children in the district and they see what is going and and know what their children need. They listen to other parents. Children and parents, those are the ones that know the most about what SHOULD be happening in our schools. The board is our support, our back bone and possibly the only ones truly trying to fight for OUR children.

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