19 Aug 2014
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S. Huntington Teachers, Board Reach Deal

Teachers union president to outline agreement at hearing.

The South Huntington school district announced Saturday that the teachers union had agreed to a pay freeze and other concessions for next year.

The Board of Education has stated previously that savings from any teachers' contract concessions would go toward restoring educational programs in the district for next year.

Dennis Callahan, president of the South Huntington Teachers Association, will make a statement at Tuesday night's meeting to outline its decision.

"I am pleased that the Teachers' Association and the School District were able to reach a fair contract settlement," Callahan said Saturday. "The settlement is a testament to the commitment of both the SHTA and SHUFSD to make hard choices and to reach a compromise which is in the best interests of the students of South Huntington.  

"I have full expectation that the funds saved by the District will be used to restore academic programs.  I also look forward to the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the South Huntington Teachers' Association and the South Huntington School District."

On April 4, the of more than $142 million but coming in under the state mandated cap forced a decision to make serious cuts for next year, among them, reducing kindergarten to half days and eliminating the middle school sports program.

The move to half-day kindergarten would save the district about $1.1 million but mean that 21 full-time teachers would be forced into part-time status.

Elimination of the middle school sports program, which would be replaced by intramurals, was expected to save about $120,000.

Which programs will be affected by the agreement is unknown. Further details were not immediately available.

The district said Saturday, "A readiness to do what is right for the community is what’s needed most in these difficult times, and the South Huntington Board of Education is very pleased to announce that the teachers union has done just that. The Board of Education has been in negotiations with the teachers union for months, and late-breaking news is that they have agreed to a salary freeze as well as other concessions for next year. "

Tuesday's meeting was originally meant to be a public hearing on the budget, one week before the public vote and election of three school board members. It is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Whitman High School.

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