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Port Jefferson teachers reach deal with district on a new 4-year contract

The Port Jefferson school district has reached a four-year contract agreement with its teachers that keeps their current salaries in the first year but bumps up annual pay by 1 percent in years two through four, school officials announced Thursday.

The agreement between the district and the Port Jefferson Teachers Association runs from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2017.

The contract, approved by the Board of Education Tuesday, includes a 2.85 percent step increase in the first year, half-step increases in years two and four and a step freeze in year three. Step increases are based on accrued years of service and are separate from the overall salary increase.

Also, one-time payments of $650 will be made to all teachers in years two and three, and teachers who are not eligible to move up a step on the salary schedule in year one will receive a one-time payment of $1,300. "The negotiation process from start to finish -- it was respectful, collaborative and reflective of the economic challenges our community and all communities are facing," said Kenneth Bossert, superintendent of schools.

The district will realize a savings of about $850,000 over the four-year term of the agreement with its approximately 120 teachers, as compared with the expired contract language. Bossert said the district will be able to preserve its programs and staffing as well as stay within its 1.43 percent tax levy increase cap proposed for the upcoming school year.

The new agreement also calls for an increase in teachers' health insurance premium contributions, a freezing of stipend rates and an adjustment to bereavement days.

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