After negotiations that spanned 16 months, the Mamaroneck School District has solidified a new five-year contract with the district’s teachers’ union, the Mamaroneck Teachers’ Association, that they are hoping will help manage spiraling mandated costs in the wake of a two percent tax cap.
“We are very grateful to the two negotiating committees as well as the members of the MTA for their understanding and appreciation of these changing times that have called for tough choices,” said School Board President Nancy Pierson at last night’s study session.
The new contract, effective from July 1, 2011-July 1, 2016, will freeze all salary increases—or Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)—for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school year.
“In the long-term, the two-year wage freeze will significantly slow down rapidly escalating costs, as future increases will be calculated based on ‘pre-freeze’ salaries,” the district said in a statement sent out today.
Exceptions to this clause include a one-time $1,000 bonus for experienced teachers employed during the 2011-12 school year on the “top step” of the salary scale who have not already received increment pay. Teaching assistants employed during that same period will also receive a $350 bonus. These bonuses, however, will not be added to base salaries and, therefore, will not count toward future COLA increases.
Another exception to this freeze will be “lane movements,” or salary increases based on additional education or credits; these increases will be subject to the collective bargaining agreement.
Two percent COLA salary increases will resume in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.
“The average annual Cost of Living Adjustment in the upcoming contract term is approximately 0.8 percent, which is significantly less than the 3.8 percent average annual Cost of Living Adjustment over the four-year period governed by the last contract,” said the district’s statement.
Additional long-term savings include an increase in the amount that newly hired teachers and nurses will be required to contribute to their health insurance costs, which will now be eight percent, effective July 1, 2015.
And, beginning in the 2013-14 school year, new hires will no longer be eligible for the Retirement Recognition Plan, a one-time payment totaling 25 percent of a retiring teacher’s salary.
According to district officials, “These recognition payments have cost the district over $1.5 million in the last three years alone.”
Students will also see a payoff from the new contract.
Instructional time with students will increase by up to 20 minutes per day at Hommocks Middle School; up to 15 minutes per day at Mamaroneck High School and 30 minutes at the district’s elementary schools.
Contract changes also included a new evaluation process for teacher’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) and the elimination of a contract provision that required a 2/3 vote of secondary level faculty before scheduling changes could be implemented. For more detailed information, the entire Memorandum of Agreement can be viewed on the district’s website here.
Officials appear confident that the new contract will yield considerable savings, going forward, in the district's expenses.
"If comparing this contract to Triborough (which requires districts to honor all terms/conditions of the expired contract, except for COLA), the savings over the life of the contract are projected at an estimated $3.9 million, with substantial long-term savings beyond that," said Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaps, continuing, “I do appreciate the commitment and sacrifice of our teachers; their willingness to partner with us in some ways ensured our success for the future."
Editor's Note: A quote clarifying the projected amount of savings for the new contract was added to an earlier version of this article.