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Oneida Teachers Association hopes for contract in new year

In an update to this story from last week, the negotiating teams were scheduled to meet Friday Dec. 19, because of the weather this meeting was canceled. The next negotiating session will be held Jan. 6. Full details about the budget cuts from the state and how they affect the pending contracts will be in next week's Oneida Press.

For the past few months, representatives from the Oneida Teacher's Association have sat silently during the school board meetings to show solidarity during the ongoing negotiations with the district.

The silence ended last Tuesday as union president Brian Mroczek made a statement to the school board on behalf the hundreds of teachers who attended the regular meeting. In his statement, he praised the work and the commitment to the community of OTA membership and expressed disappointment that a contract has not been reached.

"Our team has offered flexible and creative solutions to address the district's major priorities in this round of contract talks," he said. "These alternatives have been rebuked by the district negotiations team I question the district's commitment to respectful negotiations as we are 11 months into the negotiating process and seemingly no closer to a settlement."

The statement was received with a standing ovation from the teachers.

Patty Vaccaro, president of Oneida School Employees United, which represents teacher aides, custodians, cleaners clerical and cafeteria employees also made a statement that echoed the concerns of the OTA. She also received a standing ovation.

Superintendent Ron Spadafora opened the meeting with a statement of his own, responding to rumors that have been circulating throughout the district regarding the negotiations.

"I understand the unpleasantness, the anger and the mistrust that goes on (during negotiations), but if the anger is directed at me, I want it to be based on accurate information," he said.

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