At its Dec. 9 meeting, 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 during the Spring of 2014.
Members of the Teachers Association voted in early December to ratify the agreement, which covers the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017. There are approximately 290 members of the BH-BL teachers bargaining unit.
The board and teachers association agreed that the salary increases scheduled in the new contract will be essentially the same as in the prior contract, with no changes in salary steps 1-20. This means that BH-BL teachers with 20 or fewer years of experience will continue to receive the same annual salary increases under the new contract as under the old contract.
In addition, the new contract provides for a $1,000 addition to base pay for teachers who are at the maximum pay on the salary schedule, who were scheduled for no pay increase at all during 2014-15. This increase provides a base salary of $85,768 for teachers with 20 or more years of experience. Teachers on step 20 during the 2013-14 school year will receive $86,768 during the 2014-15 school year, $87,768 during the 2015-16 school year and $88,768 during 2016-17, the final year of the new contract. These represent increases of approximately 1.2 percent per year.
This change, coupled with the fact that the rest of the salary schedule will remain the same as under the previous contract, will result in an average total salary increase of 3.64 percent in 2014-15, 3.72 percent in 2015-16, and 3.48 percent in 2016-17. These increases have been incorporated into the district's long-term financial planning.
Compensation for coaching teams, advising clubs, or assuming additional duties increased by 2% per year. Teacher benefits are unchanged in the new contract.
"The school board sincerely appreciates the cooperation of the teachers and administration alike in continuing to provide an excellent education for our students, while maintaining the long-term financial health of the district. We believe this agreement will help us reward and retain the great teachers we now have, as well as attract new talent for our future," said Board President James Maughan.
The new contract also addresses instructional issues. Changes were made to provide flexibility in the teachers’ day that will allow for increased opportunities for student learning and creative scheduling. Additionally, the Teachers Association and the District agreed to form a Blended Learning Committee to explore opportunities for alternative program delivery models.
“We value the great work our teachers do here in BH-BL. Their willingness to explore flexible schedules and to investigate new methods of instructional delivery will serve our students well as we move forward,” says Superintendent Patrick McGrath.
He adds: “The salary improvements represent average increases and define the maximum amount that the district would pay to its teachers. We have included the provisions of the new contract in our long-range fiscal planning model. After taking retirements and federal grants into account, the real percentage increases are less, allowing this contract to fit within the constraints of the tax cap and changes to state aid.”
Negotiators on behalf of the school district were Robert Van Vranken, Maryellen Symer, and Christopher Abdoo. Teacher Raelene Noll led the negotiations on behalf of the Teachers Association.