United Teachers of Northport
Statement Made at Board of Education Meeting
by UTN President, Antoinette Blanck
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
At the past several Board of Education meetings, and again this evening, the community has heard from this Board that program would be saved “if only the teachers would accept a freeze.” The UTN has offered a freeze as part of a two year agreement. The District has chosen not to accept that offer and refused to even discuss it. As both a taxpayer in this district and president of the United Teachers of Northport, I stand before you this evening disappointed and appalled by the District’s unwillingness to consider anything outside of its original proposal. While the UTN is fully cognizant of the current economic climate, it is also aware that many districts are entering into contract negotiations with savings and long-term planning involved. Many districts across Long Island have chosen to work collaboratively with their teacher unions to find creative ways to address current financial concerns. Just yesterday, a neighboring district, not dissimilar to ours, Half Hollow Hills, ratified an agreement wherein the teachers agreed to forego their salary increase for the 2011-2012 school year, while maintaining increment, in exchange for the addition of two years to their existing contract. Their contract now extends to June 2014 with a 3% salary increase plus increment in the each of the additional years. Furthermore, an attractive retirement incentive will be offered in specific years of the agreement. In this situation, collaboration between teachers and administration has allowed for the development of, and agreement to, a mutually beneficial contract extension. Although the UTN remains committed to discussion of such ideas, the District maintains its unwillingness to discuss anything other than their first proposal. No other deals have been reached wherein teachers have been asked to accept an absolute freeze of zero increment and zero salary increase for only one year with no other years involved. Northport teachers have made this school district different from all others, in a positive way, by the phenomenal work they do in the classrooms each and every day. What the District has asked will also set Northport apart from other districts, however in a much more negative way.