Critics at Monday night's "collective bargaining forum" questioned automatic pay increases for longevity and educational degrees, and stipends for extracurricular activities. Some called for a merit-based system, though it was unclear how that would work. . . .
The contract expiring June 30 covers about 140 teachers and accounts for 55 percent of the schools budget. Teachers' base pay rose about 4 percent annually during the four-year contract. But with added rewards for experience and education, teachers received an average 34.4 percent increase over the past four years, according to handouts circulated at the meeting.
Due to a provision in state law, the "steps and lanes" — pay raises for longevity and academic milestones — generally continue even under an expired contract. The so-called Triborough amendment to the state Taylor Law keeps old terms in effect if no new deal is reached. That did not go over well with the crowd.
Members of Diamond's group differed on pay caps and other tactics but agreed on two words to describe the trend in teacher pay: "unsustainable" and "antiquated."
Blind Brook bargaining forum scrutinizes teacher pay - JN 1/26/11