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BC talks contracts, no board decisions made

The Bethlehem Board of Education held a two-hour executive session about contractual issues on Wednesday, April 8, but made no formal decisions.

Assistant Superintendent Jody Monroe told The Spotlight a little after 9 p.m. that the board of education did not act upon or take any action based on the executive session. Union contracts have been the talk of the town, and now the state, as of late.

The district had re-opened contract negotiations last month with the Bethlehem Central Teachers Association while trying to make reductions in the school's spending plan.

Talks with the union did not result in any contractual changes or budget reductions. With "step increases," the BCTA gets a more than 5 percent raise as well as sabbaticals as a part of their contract with Bethlehem. The districts other two unions, an administrators union and a staff union, did not re-open their contracts.

A new contract with the BCTA will expire and be renegotiated next year.

With cuts in state aid and a declining economy, school districts across the state are grappling with the financial crisis and reducing their spending. On the state level, Gov. David Paterson has announced significant reductions in the state's workforce because of what he has deemed a breakdown in negotiations with the public employee unions. The governor said layoffs were the only option left because union would not make concessions in their current contracts.

For more on this story check for updates on www.spotlightnews.com or read the Wednesday, April 15, print edition of The Spotlight.

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