MONTROSE, N.Y. - After 18 months of negotiations, the Hendrick Hudson School District and Hendrick Hudson Education Association (HHEA), the district's teachers union, have both approved a contract.
"We spent 18 months negotiating this contract, and it is one of the most, if not the most, fiscally conservative in Westchester-Putnam," said Superintendent Daniel McCann.
Parties in negotiation, at one point, declared they were at an impasse. District officials said up to 33 employees could be laid off and that without a deal, the district would be forced to continue cuts perennially to stay under the tax cap.
According to Wednesday evening's Board of Education agenda, three district employees were laid off, despite teachers taking a zero-percent base salary increase for the next three years. Without ever mentioning the word "layoff," the Hendrick Hudson School Board unanimously approved the measure to cut the jobs of Lauren Rosenberg, a library media specialist; Marcia Brant, a special education teacher; and Stefanie Westrick, a social worker.
The term of the contract with HHEA runs from July 1, 2011 to June 20, 2015. Teachers will take a zero-percent base salary increase throughout the contract, and teachers not eligible for "step" increases, which are incremental annual increases awarded with increased education or seniority, will receive a $1,000 increase to their base pay.
"Step" increases will be cut in half for all but one year of the contract. The final year, teachers will receive full "step" increases. Members of the union will have increased health insurance contributions. By the end of the contract, teachers will contribute 10 percent to health insurance plans.
"I'm just so relieved; it was just the best feeling," said Janine Hafemann, a Frank G. Lindsey Elementary School teacher who was slated to lose her job. The third-grade teacher's job was saved when union members accepted a zero base salary increase, and she will enter her seventh year of teaching in the 2012-2013 school year.
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