District bargaining units and employees help bridge gap with contractual concessions, freezes for 2011-12

The East Syracuse Minoa School Central School District, in collaboration with the teacher and administrator bargaining units, announces contractual concessions with district employees that will save approximately $638,000 for the next school year, helping to preserve jobs and bridge a projected budget gap.

The concessions will help district leaders address sizable budget challenges due in large part to reduced state aid revenues and the sun-setting of federal stimulus funds.

On March 4, ESM United Teachers, the district's largest bargaining unit, overwhelmingly approved a contract restructuring that reduces the contractual wage increase for next year. A stipulated 3.75 percent increase in base compensation for the 2011-12 school year was reduced to 1.5 percent.

"We want to continue our collaborative relationship and continue to help," said John Nichols, ESM United Teachers Union President. "That is always the way we have worked together at ESM."

The administrator's bargaining unit voted Feb. 18 to give up a scheduled 2.5 percent raise for next year, and ESM's superintendent as well as the other executive cabinet members of central office administrators have frozen their salaries at current levels.

"We, as administrators, voted unanimously to forgo our 2.5 percent salary increase for next year to do whatever we could to help save jobs during these challenging fiscal times," said Bill McEachron, ESM administrator's bargaining unit president.

"These concessions save the district money at a time when we need it most, and that's critically important," said Board of Education President Debbie Kolod. "We appreciate the understanding of our teachers and administrators, and look forward to continued cooperation and collaboration as we make difficult decisions in the coming months."

The collective savings represented by these groups will provide a boost to the district in its efforts to preserve meaningful programs and services for students.

"Bridging the gap this year means we all have to pitch in," said Superintendent Dr. Donna DeSiato. "This is by no means a complete solution to the budget challenges, but we are grateful for establishing a good first step, and look forward to a solution that preserves the integrity of our educational program in a cost-efficient manner for ESM taxpayers."

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