School board passes teacher, staff contracts

— The Skaneateles Board of Education approved new union employment contracts for district teachers and support staff at its Feb. 14 meeting.

Both contracts are for three years, beginning with the current school year (effective July 1, 2011) and expire June 30, 2014, and both include pay raises of 1.5 percent for each year of the contract.

“It’s the compromise between what both parties wanted,” said District Superintendent Phil D’Angelo. “Both unions [CSEA and NYSUT] voted on this prior to the board meeting; it passed overwhelmingly with both, and the school board approved it.”

The board also agreed at the Feb. 14 meeting to give a pay raise this year with a pay freeze for the next two years to athletic coaches and staff advisors to student clubs and activities.

The completed union contracts will be “very helpful” to the district from a budgeting perspective, knowing what salaries will be for the next two years, D’Angelo said.

“We’re trying to do multi-year budgets, so this will help tremendously with the bigger picture,” he said.

As for the school budget now being drafted, D’Angelo gave a Powerpoint presentation at the meeting to explain the current progress of the budget process, particularly the effect of the new state tax levy cap. The budget is still in the drafting stages, and no decisions have been made on what programs, activities or other costs may be cut, D’Angelo said.

The school board did not discuss or release any further details about the district’s recent settlement with Section III Athletics over payment of court costs for the 2011 varsity football program suspension. That deal was reached Feb. 6 after attorneys for both parties agreed to a “discontinuance” of the suit.

The lawsuit against Section III, while technically a filing to overturn the Skaneateles football program suspension, was in fact done to fight the attempt to make the district pay Section III’s legal fees, which amounted to tens of thousands of dollars.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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