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Negotiations Deadlocked Between Union, District

Fact-finding next step in mediation process.

Little, if any movement has been made in negotiations between the Kings Park School District and the Kings Park Classroom Teachers Association since their contract expired last June, which has sent the process into a stage known as fact-finding.

 “The negotiation process has different steps,” said Ralph Cartisano, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Instruction and Personnel for the district. “When both sides are working through negotiaions, they declare an impasse on points where they cannot necessarily agree.”

Since mediation has been unsuccessful, Cartisano, who has been present at negotiations, says the next phase is called fact-finding, where another person is assigned to work with both parties.

Negotiations between the union and the district are not public. With fact-finding, that changes- a report from the process is made public upon completion.

“Fact finding is a non-binding process,” said Jim Pappas, president of the Kings Park Classroom Teachers Association. "It is another tool to try to get us together to come to an agreement. The fact finding report will be public, that is the difference. A person will come in and talk to both sides and take a look at neighboring districts to see what they are doing and see if one side should budge, but again it is non-binding," he said.

There are 22 people on the KPCTA's negotiating committee, which Pappas said is about 10 percent of the teaching staff.

According to Pappas, the process will take a few months and says he isn’t sure that the report will be finished by the end of the current school year.

Members of the KPCTA continue to receive the benefits and salary stipulated in the expired contract until a new compromise is reached.

“When you don’t have a contract in place, all the benefits of the old contract remain,” said Cartisano.

Since negotiations are not public, it isn’t certain what either side is asking for. Back in August of 2011, the which District Superintendent, Susan Agruso said could have saved the district $450,000.

The 2011-12 budget cuts resulted in a loss of, among other things, 23.5 teaching positions. Latest budget projections presented at last Thursday’s board of education meeting indicated another seven teaching positions may be eliminated in this budget season. The second draft of the budget showed an $80,410,526 budget, which is a budget-to-budget increase of 1.64 percent and would present a tax levy of approximately 2.48 percent.

While Pappas said he remains hopeful, he says the two sides are not close to reaching a compromise.

“Negotiations are really a compromise,” said Pappas.  “Even if we compromise more, it doesn’t mean the district would approve it. We’re not that close. We are still kind of far apart, but it’s been amicable,” he said.

Dan March 15, 2012 at 02:02 PM
In the private sector, with no union, do you think the owner asks for the employees permission to save $450,000 for a benefit offered to employees??? Hell no, what is best for the company is done and the workers are happy they are still getting the benefit for which they contribute 20-30 or 40% of the premiums and 100% of co pays. The sad part is these people are the ones teaching our kids - give me, give me , give me!! No wonder my kids think they should have everything they WANT!!
MICHAEL J RYAN March 15, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Excellent objective recommendation.
Bern March 15, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Hi All, I agree with so many of your thoughts and concerns. And, I assume everyone of you who are writing will be at the meeting tonight right. Because writing here does nothing to solve the problem, in fact it's part of the problem. We vent online instead of where it needs to be said. You need to say this face to face! So here are my questions for the folks tonight- please let me know if you are interested in this as well- I have been trying to figure this out myself so I decided to just ask myself tonight at the meeting. Please add your questions that would lead to a solution (not an opinion)- How many students are enrolled, how many classes have more than one teacher (special needs),how many grants has the district applied for in the last 3 years, and last but not least, how many fundraisers?
Jackie March 15, 2012 at 06:15 PM
What also ticks me off is the fact that many of these teachers are making close to a six figure salary, have off all vacations plus the summer and have the audacity to charge the parents $70 per hour for tutoring! Really? Parent's STOP PAYING THEM! Teachers GIVE A LITTLE! At some point if an agreeable decision can't be made do we as taxpayers get a vote on this??? I sure hope it comes down to that...maybe it's time for the teachers to know how we really feel.
Nancy Squire Robinson March 15, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Ryan, you are 100% correct. I have lived in Kings Park for 41 years and I have always supported our teachers. They have lost my support when they have become so selfish. It is no longer about the quality of education but rather it is all about $$$. The KP Teachers union lost good teachers and lower class sizes rather than accept a compromise on salaries. Ultimately, the children of Kings Park are the biggest losers. Shame on the teachers!
James March 15, 2012 at 09:42 PM
With all due respect to the folks who have posted -- while passions are running high, it is important to remember that the negotiations between the two parties are not public. We do not know who is or is not "giving" at the negotiation table. Until the public has all of the facts it's hard to come to an informed position. Let's get all of the facts first, and then offer our informed advice and concerns as taxpayers. To do anything less is equal to shooting first and asking questions later.
James March 15, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Jackie -- I know many teachers and none of them are making close to 6 figures. Do you know how many teachers in KP are making 6 figures? Because it's public record. Many if not all have advanced degrees - just like lawyers or MBA's -- and we all 'know' how much those professionals make. In regards to teachers and their summers -- many either have to work a 2nd job to make ends meet, take classes to keep current on the best educational practices, and use the summer to read new material and plan for the upcoming year. In fact, I've never met a teacher who isn't working nights and weekends during the school year in order to keep up with the demands of the job. In regards to tutoring -- how much does a doctor or other professional charge for an hour of their time (and doctors make you wait a long time and look at you for 5-min). No doubt the teachers know how you feel -- but don't we owe it to our kids to make our opinions known after we've gotten all of the facts?
James March 15, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Well said. In business we always say - "come to me with the solution, not just the problem."
James March 15, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Dan -- I doubt the children of KP are being taught instant gratification (give me, give me, give me) from the teachers. That really sounds more like an issue best dealt with at home. We also need to be cautious about what information we take as 'fact' from either side (district or teacher) until their negotiations become public. Often times members of each side will release mis-information to get the town on their side. These are tactics of manipulation -- and we have to try not fall for it.
Jackie March 15, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Seethroughny.net You can see exactly what each teacher is making.
Linda Henninger March 16, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Teacher and Administrator salaries can all be found at http://seethroughny.net/payrolls/schools/
kate March 16, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Great informative website Linda. Many residents will be surprised at how well we take care of our teachers.
Jackie March 16, 2012 at 09:34 AM
Really? Many of those teachers have barely been teaching for 10 years? You're right Kate..we take very good care of them. If switching to a different insurance could save $450,000...based on your calculations James, how many teacher positions could we be saving just on that alone ?? I don't make six figures. I dont have holidays and summers off. Both myself and husband put in many extra hours without additional pay. My employer doesn't ask me if it's okay to switch insurance companies to save money, or ask if I object to paying copays, or higher copays. The fact is, this has been an ongoing issue for years and, for one, am sick and tired of it. We as taxpayers and the source of their paycheck, have a right to know what is going on.
James March 16, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Taxpayers don't "take care" of teachers, the school nurse, the Superintendents, the groundskeepers, the janitorial staff -- these people WORK for a living. And if you've never done it -- how can you be an informed judge? As a society or as individuals we "take care" of children, the elderly, those that can't care for themselves, the homeless, the veterans, the list goes on and on. Language is a very powerful tool and it says a lot about the person who is using it. So, really, taxpayers "take care of them"? We hold the hands of teachers, feed them when they're hungry, hug them when they're down, press a coin into their hands as we pass them on the street?
James March 16, 2012 at 10:39 AM
This is a great site, I agree. Now -- just how many KP teachers are making 6 figures? Jackie, what is the perentage? Perhaps you can create a salary pie chart? Take the evidence and back up your opinions if you are that fired up about it.
Jennifer Ryan March 16, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Attending the meetings for me now is not possible, with rising costs for my self, my parents (all Kings Park residents) and a small business owner - I am working around the clock. I cannot afford health care at all. Aetna health care for a single person (a policy no longer available and cadillac) is 1200 per month, while an Oxford policy (not so great) for a single person is 400 per month. Just FYI. As far as attending the meetings, the process in which in wheels turn is not working, all can say what they wish, it is the administration that must change their direction and become innovative and change how they think. If you keep pressing button A you will keep getting result A - move on to new ideas of funding and efficiency.
Jackie March 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM
What's got people fired up is the fact that there is no compromise.....they don't want to give up anything.....! You have the website now....create your own pie chart.
Jennifer Ryan March 16, 2012 at 11:39 AM
In the grand scope of our budge, $450,000 is .5% of the total. Not that this amount would not help to make ends meet, however, as I said the first time (and it worked) the discussion of cutting health care and teachers was meant to incite argument not find solutions - WHAT ARE THE COSTS THAT CAN BE CUT? WHERE IS NEW AND INNOVATIVE FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS THAT WOULD RELIEVE THE TAX BURDEN FROM THE TAXPAYER? The administration and board needs to answer these questions and move toward these solutions. FYI, when I ran for the school board, at the panel interview I talked about energy efficiency. Later in other discussions I recommended that we NOT PUT ROOFS ON OUR SCHOOLS WITHOUT ENTERING INTO A PROGRAM TO USE OUR FLAT ROOFS FOR SOLOAR PANELS - THERE IS PLENTY OF SUNNY REAL ESTATE TO CATCH THE RAYS THAT WOULD REDUCE AND OR ELIMINATE COST TO THE DISTRICT FOR ELECTRICITY WITHOUT COSTING A DIME. We have new roofs, no solar and rising energy costs. This is an example of what needs to happen now - NEW INNOVATIVE THINKING.
Tina S. March 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Lol..so maybe the kids at RJO should be sitting with buckets surrounding them while in class because of all the leaks that roof had......if we cant come up with money to save jobs, etc...where the heck do you think we'll find money for solar panels?????
Jennifer Ryan March 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM
One more, I have to go see client . . . our budget needs to be cut 20% percent. If we look at that number as a goal and examine hard costs, funding and deliverables, i believe this can happen. I see it happening in businesses that I am a part of every day and some of them have stricter guidelines and regulations than schools. This is a shift in thinking and motivation that needs to occur. We all need to put together a plan for all of it, it will hurt in some areas and it will relieve burdens too.
Jennifer Ryan March 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM
There are programs that WON'T COST US A DIME AND WILL ELIMINATE OUR COSTS AS WELL. There are also wind programs with new wind "fans" that are not the huge mills that so many disagree with - these programs cost us nothing and reduce and/or eliminate costs - the research and education is what is needed on the part of the district, the board and obviously the taxpayers. We must think broader and non-reactive because THE PROGRAMS EXIST.
KPLifer March 16, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Jennifer - I expect you will be running for school board?- you seem to have the "solution" - or are just looking for a commision for some green nonsense you are selling. Will the windmill be located next to the cell tower? Jackie - you also can become a teacher after you complete for years of college, 1 year of student teaching, get a Masters Degree - and continue taking classes for your entire carreer. You can also stop being an employee, and become and employer - go for it!
Jennifer Ryan March 16, 2012 at 01:04 PM
The free nonsense I am peddling is real and I would appreciate knowing who you are. Solutions are everywhere and it seems to me nobody wa.rd to find them they just want to call them nonsense. Call me to find out hoe green nonsense saves in my home and my clents. I'm selling.g nothing
kate March 16, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Yes James, take care. Sorry you don't care for my verbiage. As a taxpayer I'm am their employer as you're too. Our teachers are well compensated for the job they do. They work 182 days a year with full benefits and pensions. I believe they deserve this as they are working with our children. However, I also am disappointed when I hear that are not willing to compromise. Something they teach our children to do each day.
KingsParkKid March 16, 2012 at 07:13 PM
So i hear that Agruso finally took a pay freeze & her administration is on a pay freeze. They work the system. Agruso was given another paid weeks vacation on top of what she already had. Is that in the best interest of our children? Agrusos secretary is making $90,000!!!!! IS THAT in the best interest of our children?? We can hire & train someone to do that work for $30,000. We hired Another Administrator?? All I hear is "what is in the interest of our children" and yet i don't see it. Is taking away programs from the kids & letting go of GREAT teachers in our kids best interest? Getting rid of New Discovery? Putting up a cell tower? Letting go of grounds keepers? Switching to contract busing?? May I suggest putting an Outside Mediator in at the meetings between Agruso & the KPCSD employees? As for the Health Insurance, if the teachers accept the health insurance offered to them then SO SHOULD ADMINISTRATION!!! Lets face it, your kids benefit from the TEACHER not Admin. So why should her secretary get more money and better benefits that the teacher?? And FYI, I go to ALL the BOE meetings and it is good for NOTHING to attend. sad but true. it is so frustrating. Renewing Agrusos contract against even BOE members & a room full of peoples wishes. That was my favorite meeting so far.
Thomas March 17, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Fire all of them.
kper March 17, 2012 at 09:46 AM
while I do believe the teachers are giving our children what they need and are doing a great job I also saw some of these salaries and I'm sorry to say but I think they can hold off on increasing their income, some people in KP are out of jobs and have difficulty keeping up on bills while some not all teachers and BOE and administrators are driving in their Mercedes, BMW's, etc. In the grand scheme of things its about teaching not increasing salaries!!!
kper March 17, 2012 at 09:56 AM
While I give credit for the great work teachers provide our children I have also seen salaries of quite a few teachers and I have to say I think they can hold off on an increase. There are many families in KP that can't even afford to pay their bills or mortgage and struggle everyday to find work at their age so while some not all of the Administrators, BOE, and teachers are driving around in their luxury cars and living in nice houses let's remember this should not be about money!!
Jackie March 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM
LOL. I do have a college degree and it's "four" not "for".
Laura May 12, 2012 at 12:20 AM
I totally agree with that stamens about solar panels.

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