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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 2, 2010

Six contracts up for negotiation

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Six of the school district’s 12 bargaining units are in the midst of contract negotiations or on the cusp of negotiations.

“We do have such a great relationship with all of our units and their leaders,” said Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Lin Severance this week. “No one is going into this with anxiety.”

Guilderland cut 40 jobs this school year to keep the tax hike on its $87.4 million budget under 4 percent. Federal stimulus funds are to end after this year and it’s likely state aid won’t increase.

Asked if the economy is likely to affect negotiations, Severance said, “It’s a part of the landscape….I’d hate to have the economy affect the relationships we have…The economy is what it is; we’re all affected by it.”

She concluded, “We’re not going into our meetings with folks with just the economy on our minds….There are many other things to talk about besides salaries.”

The district employs about 1,000 people.

Contracts with these units are up for negotiation before the end of the school year:

Guilderland Teachers’ Association will have its first meeting with district negotiators next week, Severance said. The GTA, affiliated with New York Sate United Teachers, has 494 members, including teachers, guidance counselors, school social workers, librarians, registered school nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists.

For an in-depth preview of the GTA negotiations, go online to www.altamontenterprise.com and look under Guilderland archives for Oct. 21, 2010;

Guilderland Employees’ Association’s contract will expire at the end of this school year so, although negotiations are not underway, they are on the horizon.

 The GEA is unaffiliated, with 208 members, including cooks and cashiers, food service helpers, bus drivers and bus aids, building maintenance mechanics, auto mechanics and bus garage helpers, custodial workers, groundskeepers, and messenger.

The GEA agreed on a contract last June, ending 15 months of difficult negotiations. The retroactive two-year contract runs until June 30, 2011.

The GEA had originally asked for 5-percent raises in addition to step increases, but ended up with just the incremental year-to-year step increases, and no raises;

Guilderland Teacher Aides’ Association is currently in negotiations and has met twice with the district’s negotiating team, said Severance.

The Teacher Aides’ Association is affiliated with the National Education Association/New York and has 52 members, including teachers’ aids and monitors, cafeteria monitors, hall monitors, and school store monitors;

Guilderland School Administrators’ Association has met with the district’s negotiation team “a couple of times,” said Severance.

The unit, which is unaffiliated, has 10 members, including, special-education administrators, middle-school house principals, high-school assistant principals, and an assistant physical education director.

At its Nov. 3 meeting, the school board approved a memorandum of agreement with the association, which, Severance said this week, was not to extend the contract but rather in regard to a concession the association made last year in the midst of the budget crisis; the association had agreed, for this year only, to increase members’ contribution to health insurance from 20 percent to 25 percent;

Guilderland Principals’ Association also has a contract that expires at the end of this year, Severance said, and is unique among the bargaining units at Guilderland because it negotiates directly with the school board. The other units negotiate with a team of administrators that is directed by the board.

The association, which is unaffiliated, has eight members, including five elementary, one middle-school, and one high-school principal as well as an administrator for special programs; and

Guilderland District Office Confidential Personnel will soon start negotiations, Severance anticipated although she said that the letter to start the process is not yet in.

The unit, which is unaffiliated, has six members, including secretaries for the superintendent and for the three assistant superintendents, and senior account clerks.

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