HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The teachers in the Hastings-on-Hudson school district agreed to a new three-year contract that offers no raise the first year and a 1 percent salary increase in each of the two subsequent years.
The Board of Education approved the contract at its meeting Monday night.
The contract also requires the 159 employees covered under the contract to pay a 15 percent health-care contribution, compared with 13 percent paid under the previous contract.
“While we certainly want to see our salaries increase over time, we will not accept more or take less than the district can afford,” said Nate Morgan, president of the Hastings Teachers Association. “So we feel this agreement allows for teachers to see small financial gains in the future, while allowing the district to create responsible budgets that will not impact programs or jobs and most importantly, our students.”
Hastings teacher salaries range from $54,000 to $121,000, depending on experience and education, said Eileen Baecher, president of the Hastings Board of Education. Although the salary issue was a cause for debate, both sides agreed that ensuring a positive environment for students was the top priority.
One main issue during negotiations was the Annual Professional Performance Review process, which evaluates teachers, Morgan said.
“From our perspective, the APPR agreement was a crucial component to this agreement,” Morgan said. “The state has mandated a cumbersome evaluation process that is doubtful to improve teacher effectiveness or student achievement. So our desire was to try to implement a program that could focus on improving professional development for teachers.”
The agreement ensures a transparent and fair process for teachers while still meeting all legal requirements set by the state, Morgan said.
The APPR process was also an important issue on the other side of negotiations, Baecher said. Without a proper APPR agreement, the district could have lost crucial state funding, she said.
“The board is very pleased to have settled the contract,” Baecher said. “It allows the district to comply with the state's requirement to have the APPR process in place. It also lets us go back to focusing on educational issues and moving the district forward with a new superintendent.”