TEACHER UNION NEGOTIATION UPDATE!
Girard at Large has learned that Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and Manchester Education Association President Ben Dick have finalized an agreement regarding extension of the union’s contract.
While neither party would divulge details of the agreement, Dick confirmed the language has been submitted to the school district’s attorney for a legal review. Assuming there are no changes determined necessary by this review, both Dick and Gatsas are expected to tentatively authorize the deal.
In conversation with Girard at Large, Dick said he anticipated scheduling a vote of the membership next week. Further, he noted that a vote would only be scheduled if the Manchester School Board came to a favorable consensus on the pact at the special meeting scheduled for this Monday night.
Gatsas has viewed the extension, which includes incentives to retire and drop city health coverage, while preserving existing raises and restructuring health benefits, as critical to the city’s ability to manage expenses during difficult budget times. The $4.4 million the extension is expected to save would be able to recall approximately 100 teachers who have received “reduction in force” or “RIF” notices advising that they could be laid off at the beginning of the next budget year, which begins on July 1.
Depending on how popular the retirement incentives are, the savings could rise to as much as $7 million. With other contract deals Gatsas has negotiated, he has use the savings to maintain workers or add to their ranks. He has pledged to recall as many school district workers as the savings allow.
Stay “tuned” to Girard at Large for additional details as they arise. You’ll hear it here first because LOCAL is our thing!