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Sachem district, teachers revise deal, save $3.5M

Sachem High School North, 212 Smith Rd., Lake

Sachem High School North, 212 Smith Rd., Lake Ronkonkoma. (May 4, 2011) Photo Credit: Kaitlynn Mannino

The Sachem school district and its teachers union — Long Island’s second largest — have agreed to a contract revision expected to save $3.5 million and help curb property taxes.

Under the new agreement, teachers will give up a scheduled 2.5 percent raise for the 2012-13 school year and take 1 percent instead. In addition, the union will give up half an annual step increase built into its contract, which would have been worth an extra 2 percent on average.

In exchange, the district will extend its teacher contract for an additional two years. The union will get a 1.5 percent raise and half-year step increase in 2013-14, along with a 1.25 percent raise and full-year step in 2014-15, officials said.

The district’s total budget this year is $287.8 million.

John Heslin, president of Sachem’s 1,234-member teacher union, said 66 percent of his members approved the contract Tuesday. The revised contract was ratified by Sachem’s school board Wednesday night.

Teachers’ concessions won praise Wednesday from district officials and a local taxpayer representative alike.

“Oh, it’s tremendous!” said Bruce Singer, associate superintendent for business. “They’ve been very sensitive to the taxpayers in this negotiation and in past negotiations.”

Fred Gorman, president of a local civic and taxpayer group, concurred.

“Once again, the Sachem faculty have shown their concern for the community, students and taxpayers,” said Gorman, who heads the Nesconset-Sachem Civic Association.

Gorman added, however, that the district was trying to build cash reserves rather than curb spending. Singer denied this, saying reserves were depleted.

Photo:  Sachem North High School

 

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