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Public Statement

P U B L I C   S T A T E M E N T
March 11, 2010

The Northport –East Northport Board of Education has decided to disclose information of a confidential nature at a time when negotiations with the United Teachers of Northport were just beginning.  Negotiations always take place in a confidential environment in order to enable each side to openly share their respective concerns without the glare of public disclosure.  This prevents inaccurate and inflammatory rumors from disrupting the process leading to a fair and equitable agreement which benefits the District and the community.
Although the District claims to not be in a position to raise salaries, the District has acknowledged that their reserves are fully funded and that they will not touch the unreserved unallocated fund balance of $5.6 million dollars this year as they want it for the future.  Additionally, the District has never brought the Union to the table to discuss the “objectives” of the District.  The District has reserves to weather the financial uncertainty we face, yet during negotiations, which no board member or administrator from the district attended, the District acknowledged that they have healthy reserves and are CHOOSING not to use a small portion of their savings to enter into a contract which offers a zero percent increase, financial certainty for the community while maintaining the programs which have made Northport an exemplary district, both in the state and nationwide.
The Union is eager to continue meaningful dialogue and to actually commence negotiations.   Please note that there have only been two negotiation sessions which have occurred despite the UTN being ready, willing and able to commence negotiations since early January.   Negotiations did not commence pursuant to the contract at the District’s request so they could formalize a comprehensive plan and a four week delay in the negotiations was requested by the District, yet once at the table the District’s one year offer was presented with no exchange of dialogue on the proposal.  Thereafter the UTN took great time and effort to prepare a counter proposal which was presented twelve days later, and which was subsequently rejected by the District, again without any dialogue by the District.
The UTN would welcome the opportunity to be involved in meaningful dialogue to work towards cuts to spending that will not damage the product and programs that are presented in our schools.  The UTN is
proud of the quality education that is provided in Northport as we are the teachers and teaching assistants in the classrooms with the children, and in many cases, we are residents of this great district.
The Board’s proposal does not protect all of the positions and programs in place.  The Board’s proposal is to ESSENTIALLY maintain salary and positions.  It is our goal to maintain all of the programs in Northport
while minimizing unnecessary costs such as allowances for vehicles which are not for the direct benefit of the education of our children.
The UTN will continue to work every day to make your children’s education in Northport productive, enjoyable and progressive.

Antoinette Blanck
President

United Teachers of Northport
166 Laurel Road
East Northport, NY  11731
631-261-2000

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