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S. Colonie teaching assistants seek contract

The South Colonie Central School District and the union representing teaching assistants will seek mediation for contract negotiation because the TA's are currently working under an expired contract, according to union representatives.

Jeff Dutcher, South Colonie Teachers Association president, said the district and the union are working toward a new contract. The previous contract, which was put in place five years ago, expired in June.

A mediation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 23, he said.

It's been a long time since we've had to go to mediation, Dutcher said. "This is kind of new to us."

He said he could not comment specifically on the items in the contract that are holding up negotiations nor how long the new contract will run for because it is still being negotiated.

"I think both sides very much want to settle this," Dutcher said.

John Noetzel, communications coordinator with the South Colonie Central School District echoed Dutcher's sentiment, and said he also could not make specific comments about the negotiations until they are complete.

"It's just our policy on negotiations that are ongoing," Noetzel said. "We're just going to let the process take its course."

Dutcher said he is hopeful for a productive session Wednesday, and is looking to resolve the matter in a timely fashion.

The SCTA negotiated the teacher's contracts, as well as the teaching assistants. He said the monitors, represented by the Teamsters, also have an expired contract, and he voiced his support for them as well.

Teaching assistants from Roessleville Elementary School, Saddlewood Elementary School and Lisha Kill Middle School attended the Tuesday, Dec. 15, meeting, to show unity to the community and the school board.

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