Press release of October 10, 2012
Salary steps to continue at same levels as in
BH-BL adopts new
contract with Teachers Association
BURNT HILLS: At their business meeting on
the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Board of
Education approved a new three-year negotiated
agreement with its Teachers Association, concluding
a bargaining process that began two years
Members of the
Teachers Association voted in late September to ratify the agreement, which
covers the period of July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2014.
There are approximately 280 members of the BH-BL
teachers bargaining unit.
What is not changing
includes no salary schedule changes for steps 1
to 19 in any of the three years of the contract.
This means that BH-BL teachers with
19 or fewer years of experience will continue to
receive the same annual salary increases under the
new contract as under the old contract.
Specifically, the salary schedule will remain the same from 2010-11 through 2013-14,
with a step 1 salary of $40,180 for first year
Compensation for coaching teams,
advising clubs, or having a masters degree or
National Board Certification remains frozen at the
amounts set in the previous contract. Teacher benefits
are also unchanged in the new contract.
What is changing
What is changing in the new
contract is that a 20th step is being added to the
salary schedule starting in 2012-13, a step that
will provide a $664 pay increase to teachers with
20 or more years of teaching experience, who received
no pay increase at all during 2011-12.
The 20th step will provide a base salary of
$85,104 for teachers with 20 or more years of
experience. Step 20 will then grow to $85,768 for
the 2013-14 school year, the final year of the new
Overall, teacher salary schedule
improvements are zero for 2011-12, 0.34
percent for 2012-13, and 0.37 percent for 2013-14.
Under the salary schedule, current
teachers in total will receive an average salary increase of
2.90 percent in 2011-12, 3.26 percent in 2012-13,
and 3.29 percent in 2013-14.
"These percent increases
represent the maximum effect that the new
contract could have on what the district spends on
teacher salaries," says superintendent Patrick
McGrath. "However, in reality, the annual
salary impact on the district budget
will be quite a bit lower once we include the savings realized
when staff retire or their salaries are paid for by
"It's unusual to have a
salary schedule that remains nearly constant over a
four-year period, and I believe this has never
happened at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake before. This is a sign of
how hard both sides of the bargaining table worked
to come up with a contract that would reflect
current legal and fiscal realities for teachers and
NY public schools."
Board of Education president
Elizabeth Herkenham agrees that negotiating this
contract was both harder and took longer than usual
for BH-BL. "In our approach to this, Board members
were trying to save future instructional programs,"
she says. "After the past three years of staffing
and program cuts in our schools, and of reduced
state aid, and now the tax cap, we were focused on
limiting any cost increases and on preserving and
positioning our schools for the future."
"This contract is unprecedented in
the history of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
Teachers Association," says Teachers Association
president Mike Mosall. "Superintendent McGrath
injected new energy into this process. The agreement
represents the fiscal realities we are all facing
Crafting details of teacher
According to McGrath, a topic
that took a great deal of time during the negotiations was exactly how
BH-BL will meet the complex requirements that -- starting
in the current school year
-- are part of New York's new
Annual Professional Performance Review process (APPR) for
"Developing the new APPR plan
was actually a very smooth process," says
McGrath, "but one that took months due to the
incredible complexity of putting the new state regulations
Mosall notes that "Creation of the
APPR plan was a great example of how Burnt Hills
administration and teachers work together. It was a
collaborative process from the start and is the best
solution possible for students, teachers, and our
Negotiators on behalf of the school
district were Robert Van Vranken, Rick Evans, and recently retired
assistant superintendent Jacqueline St.
Onge. Teacher Andrew Haluska led the negotiations on behalf of
the Teachers Association.