FFCS reaches deal with teachers

FONDA -?The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District’s Board of Education and Teachers’ Association officially entered into a three-year agreement at Monday’s board meeting.

The agreement includes a salary increase for teachers of 1 percent the first year, and 1.25 percent the following two years.

Health-insurance savings made the agreement possible, said Interim Superintendent Ray Colucciello.

Teachers’ individual health insurance contributions will stay at 12 percent the first year, increase to 13 percent the second year and rise to 15 percent the final year.

Retiring teachers’ health insurance has been changed to the Medicare Advantage Plan.

District Treasurer Carey Shultz said the change to the Medicare Advantage Plan will save $400,000.

The agreement will be effective from July 1 until June 30, 2016.

Colucciello said he is happy the board and Teachers’ Association came to an agreement.

“I think it’s a fair contract for both sides,” he said.

Colucciello said the final agreement took a lot of compromise and understanding.

“We were able to come to an agreement through give and take, through compromise, through recognizing our fiscal plight in this community, for understanding there are two sides to the fiscal conditions of schools today and understanding how the taxpayer is burdened. So both sides understood that these are hard times,” he said.

The school district has taken steps over the last three years to manage its financial crisis. This included an employee wage freeze, reducing positions and tightening the overall fiscal oversight.

He said the new agreement will help the district plan for the next three years.

“Since 75 percent of the cost that we have incurred is from staff, we’ll be able to figure out how much it’ll cost us. We’ll be aware of what teacher costs are for the next three years and that’ll help us a lot,” Colucciello said.

Teachers’ Association President James Murray said in a news release, “I am very pleased with the outcome of the negotiations process. I want to thank everyone involved for their hard work and cooperation.”

Board President Linda Wszolek said in the release, “We are grateful that the Teachers’ Association and the district could come to an agreement. We look forward to working collaboratively with the association in the years ahead to provide our students with an outstanding education.”