Schalmont BOE approves union contracts

Pay raises followed health insurance concessions for new contracts with two unions in Schalmont Central School District.

The Schalmont Board of Education approved new contracts with the Schalmont School Related Professionals Association and the Schalmont Administrators Association on Thursday, June 23. Both contracts became effective on Friday, July 1. The SSRPA is a four-year contract, while the SAA is a three-year contract.

Board President Kevin Thompson said the salary increases for union members was reasonable when joined with union concessions.

We're grateful they understood the difficult fiscal times we face and were willing to work with us to preserve services that help safely maintain and run our schools. That puts us in a better place for the fiscal challenges we'll see in 2012-13, said Thompson in a statement.

The SSRPA represents support staff such as custodial workers, secretaries, food service staff, aides, monitors, bus drivers and mechanics. These union members received salary increases averaging less than 2 percent each year of the contract, inclusive of step increases, according to district officials.

The support staff union made concessions in health benefits, which include switching from a 7 percent contribution rate to 10 percent for current employees and 12 percent for new employees, according to district officials. It also agreed to eliminate a more expensive Empire health plan option, to change an HMO plan option with CDPHP to a less expensive EPO plan with the Capital Area School Health Insurance Consortium, and agreed to work to eliminate another HMO plan for additional cost savings.

Superintendent Valerie Kelsey applauded the new contract.

"I commend the SSRPA on working diligently with the district to find financial savings that would help maintain union members' jobs," said Kelsey in a statement.

The administrators' union also agreed to move to less expensive, but comparable, health plan options and to increase the new member contribution rate from 15 percent to 20 percent, said district officials. It also eliminated a split life insurance plan option and agreed to create a merit pay schedule based on new state guidelines for evaluating principals.

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