New Rochelle School District employees will receive an across the board pay increase of 2% next year and 2.5% in the following year under a tentative two-year contract announced today. Under the deal, if ratified by the rank and file, salary increases would be postponed until the second semester of each year. There would be be no increase in employee contributions to health insurance benefits.
There will be a union meeting at 3:30 and 4:30 PM on May 28th at Room 367 New Rochelle High School and a vote by secret ballot held on June 1st.
The Federation of United School Employees (F.U.S.E.) informed its members this morning of a tentative settlement in contract negotiations with the City School District of New Rochelle in a memo distributed to all union members. The deal also includes various stipends, paid holidays for clerical staff, increased overtime pay for maintenance workers, pay increases for coaches, elementary school teachers and event supervisors. F.U.S.E. also announced the "Separation Incentive Plan 2009", not part of the union contract but a plan that provides incentives for teachers to retire early which will become effective automatically if 15 requests for early retirement are received.
The memo from F.U.S.E. distributed today to union members dated May 20, the day after the school budget vote on May 19th which is sure to provide ammunition for school board critics who alleged during the so-called "budget workshop" board meetings that contract negotiations had already been completed prior to the vote and that a pay increase for district employees was already "baked" into the school budget. This claim was heatedly denied by New Rochelle Schools finance chief John Quinn but appears now to have been true. During budget workshops and board meetings in the weeks leading up to the vote, the school board pointedly evaded answering questions from New Rochelle residents as to the status of contract negotiations, denied charges that the contract was already a done deal and falsely asserted a claim that New York State law prohibited the school board and administration from publicly discussing ongoing union negotiations. There is no such law, as was made clear when Schools Chief Richard Organisciak told the Journal News a month before the school budget vote that there would be no pay cuts and no job cuts. Deidre Polow, a school board member who ran this year to retain her seat, made statements during the League of Women Voters Forum, which clearly indicated she knew the claims by the school board regarding public discussion of contract negotiations to be false.
F.U.S.E. represents all school district employees except for Superintendent Richard Organisciak and his Assistant Superintendent. Typical F.U.S.E. contracts have been for three years although the previous contract which included much larger pay increases was "rolled over" last year. The short-term contract agreed to this year suggests that the union anticipates going back into negotiations in 2011 with an eye towards making up for the reduced pay increases this time around.
NOTE: As soon as we can obtain a copy the separation agreement deal we will scan it and add it here.