Just in time for summer recess, Port Chester signed a four-year teachers contract today that will recover enough savings to restore 9.5 of the 13.5 positions slated to be cut next year.
The teachers union, covering about 350 employees, voted today in favor of terms that include: 0.5 percent salary raises for the next three years, a five-month delay on receiving pay increases granted for longevity and college credits; and a choice of one health insurance plan rather than three at current reimbursement rates.
“This is wonderful news for the district, and we’re glad that we were able to wrap this up before the end of the year,” said Blanca Lopez, an outgoing school board member who served as the board’s president and chair of its negotiating team.
Teachers have worked under an expired contract since last July. They will receive no retroactive salary increase.
All together the plan produces about $1 million in savings compared with the current school year. The health-insurance change will save the district $900,000 in 2012-13, and the lag in so-called “steps and lanes” pay increases will save about $350,000.
The expired contract had loomed large this spring, during a difficult budget process that started with a plan to cut kindergarten to half-day and then switched to a plan to cut 13.5 reading specialists. Union president Linda O’Connor could not be reached immediately to comment.
Superintendent Edward Kliszus said the district will restore 9.5 of those positions, and is still determining staff assignments for next year.
“As opportunities arise, the board of course will endeavor to recall people as they can, as positions may emerge again,” he said.