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Bethlehem teacher's vote 'Yes' to new contract

In a move that will save the Bethlehem Central School District the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Bethlehem Central Teacher's Association voted to renegotiate their contract.

The newly restructured contract calls for delays in teacher's cost-of-living agreements (COLA), which district officials say will save district taxpayers around $600,000 next year. Union members agreed to delay their annual COLA from September of 2009 until January of 2010 for this year's terms.

The new contract also calls for a moratorium on teacher sabbaticals and coaching salaries and extends the contract two more years, ending it in 2012.

This agreement will strengthen our financial position as we continue to grapple with an economy that is difficult for both school districts and taxpayers, Superintendent Michael Tebbano state in a district release. "I am proud of our faculty stepping up and meeting these challenges with the school district and our community."

The actual vote tally has yet to be verified by The Spotlight, but district officials call the union vote "overwhelmingly" in favor of the contract change with 98 percent voting 'Yes.' The Bethlehem Board of Education has to officially adopt the new contract before it can take effect.

The board is expected to vote in favor of the new contract on Wednesday, May 20 a day after the district budget vote, which proposes a 1.76 percent tax rate increase.

For updates on this story return to www.spotlightnews.com or read the Wednesday, May 13, print edition of The Spotlight.

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