PLEASANTVILLE - With no agreement reached in the collective bargaining process between the school district and its employees before Sunday's end of the fiscal year, the process will go into mediation this week.
District employees have been working without a contract for the past year. The negotiations have many angry at the delay in an agreement. A mediator will meet with both parties this week to find a compromise, Pleasantville Education Association President Dorothy Boggs said.
Faculty, staff and union representatives filled Tuesday night's regular Board of Education meeting, some of them calling the administration's offers "insulting," Boggs said.
Bogg said the business office has been given raises while teachers, "who work for your children," are not, an offer she said is "humiliating."
She declined to discuss details of the administration's offer.
Linda Henderson, vice president for the union, said manpower cuts will add stress to the work environment - especially for those whose responsibilities could double, as a result.
"We shouldn't have to worry about where our next loaf of bread is coming from. All the little people are getting cut," Henderson said.
Board member Joanne Famularo, who is on the negotiations committee, said the process is taking a little longer because of a change in the union members in March.
"We are not really so far off, but it will take some time," she said in a phone interview Thursday. Famularo added she wasn't sure why the crowd was as upset as they were Tuesday, but she said that she knew of no one receiving a pay cut.
But at the meeting, Boggs asked the board about the salaries paid to administrators. One teacher, Donna Goldridge, said during the public comment session that in addition to no raises, teachers are putting in as much as $6,000 per year out of their own pockets into their classrooms in addition to working many hours of unpaid overtime.
"When is the $100,000 club going to be attacked?" Boggs asked, referring to the business administrator and other upper-level directors and coordinators in the school district. Seven school officials in the district earn more than $100,000, according to information in the board's school budget, and received a raise for the upcoming year.
Boggs said at the meeting she is upset that those who are in charge of the money are getting raises.
"There is incompetency in the business office," Boggs said. "I would like for Mr. (Dennis) Mulvihill to give me his raise."
Mulvihill, the business administrator, was approved for an annual salary of $142,000, a 2 percent increase from this year, by the county superintendent, according to the school board agenda Tuesday. Mulvihill, who is on the negotiations committee, could not be reached for comment.
The stalled contract talks come in a district where the budget adopted at a special meeting in March included a more than 15-percent increase in the tax levy for the upcoming fiscal year. The tax rate increased from 64 cents per $100 of assessed value to more than 70 cents. For the owner of a home with 2012's average residential assessment of $126,792, the new rate means an increase of about $77 in the school tax bill.
The school board also discussed school security and coaches' contracts Tuesday.
The school's only resource officer was let go. The district still has school security personnel. The board discussed a possible "in-house" promotion to fill the position, adding that it might cost the district less than paying for a police officer's salary.
But Goldridge, a teacher, told the board the district needs more police officers and should bring the patrolman back.
"All the other schools are bringing in more police officers" because of recent shootings and violent events, but the school district decided to let go of the officer it had, she said.
"He doesn't just solve our problems. He builds relationships with the students," Goldridge said.
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