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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 28, 2008

Techs get 3.9% raises for 4 years

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — The seven people who provide tech support for the Guilderland schools will get 3.9-percent raises for each of the next four years.

The school board, at its August meeting, ratified a contract for the Technology and Communications Personnel Unit that runs from the next school year until the 2011-12 school year. The four-year length of the contract is “atypical,” said Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Susan Tangorre; the time frame was chosen to avoid having so many contracts fall due for negotiation at the same time, she said.

The newest unit member, who has worked for the district less than a year, earns $32,370 for 12 months. The most experienced, who has worked at Guilderland for 12 years, earns $50,520 annually.

The district has to compete with the private sector for tech support, said Tangorre.

The unit members have to be knowledgeable about both Macintosh and personal computers. Macintosh computers are used in the elementary schools and PCs are used in the middle school and high school, she said.

“These folks service all of them,” said Tangorre. “Our computer techs work with teachers as well as software programs…We’re fortunate to have these folks that like working in education in addition to having the hardware and software background.”

As with other contracts negotiated this year, Tangorre said, the language has been “cleaned up” to meet requirements from the state comptroller.

The contract was also changed to allow re-imbursement for online training, which is required for certification in certain areas, she said.

Negotiations were completed in three sessions, she said. “It’s a very small group,” said Tangorre. “We understand their needs. There were no sticking points.”

Other business

In other business at its Aug. 12 meeting, the board:

— Set the tax levy at $57 million for an $84 million budget next year. The tax rate for Guilderland residents will be $19.38 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of 22 cents or 1.16 percent over the previous year.

Before voters went to the polls in May, the district had estimated the tax rate increase at 1.43 percent. Guilderland assessments were higher than expected, bringing down the tax rate.

Rates for small parts of the remaining three towns in the district are: $16.69 for Bethlehem, $16.41 for New Scotland, and $29.11 for Knox, which has not revalued property recently;

— Bid farewell to Nancy Andress, the assistant superintendent for instruction, who is retiring. Board President Richard Weisz thanked her for her dedication and said, “You really committed the best part of your life to our district”;

— Granted Alan Fiero, a science teacher at Farnsworth Middle School, a leave of absence through June so he can serve as supervisor of math and science. The former supervisor, Demian Singleton, was named assistant superintendent for instruction, replacing Andress;

— Approved final Board of Cooperative Educational Services contracts for 2007-08 and the preliminary service contracts for 2008-09.

“There’s really nothing different this year than past years,” said Weisz;

— Awarded Audio Video Corporation, the lowest of four bidders, the bid for a video audio switcher and router for $14,800;

— Awarded seven different vendors — Washington Music Sales Center, John Keal Music Company, Artist Piano, Woodwind and Brasswind, Sam Ash, Wenger Corporation, and Steve Weiss Music — bids totaling $27,808.50 for musical equipment. They were the lowest of 13 bidders;

— Extended the contract of Bell’s Auto Driving School for behind-the-wheel driving instruction next year at a cost of $310 per student and appointed Roderick MacDonald as the in-class instructor for the program; he will be paid $49.20 an hour.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Neil Sanders said that, by charging students, the district “breaks even” with the program. He also said that, since more students want to take the course than there is space for, a lottery determines who will be chosen;

— Approved a BOCES consultant agreement for the district to host the Summer 2008 Reading and Writing Institute;

— Entered into a cooperative non-binding bidding agreement with other school districts and BOCES for purchase of computers and technology equipment;

— Heard from Weisz that the audit committee is looking for volunteers from the community with audit experience to serve on the committee; and

— Heard from Andress that two Pine Bush Elementary School teachers, Kim Harmon and Laurie Haecker, won the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center Summer Grant Round.

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