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Economy, Budgets Affect Irvington Teacher Contract

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – Irvington school officials say economic and budgetary issues definitely affected a new contract agreement between the district and the teachers union.

“This one comes at a time when the economic crisis is really, really terrible,” Superintendent Robert Roelle said.

The Irvington Free Union School District and the local teachers association announced last week that a contract agreement had been reached after three years of bargaining. School board members officially approved the contract during a special meeting on Monday.

The contract will take effect retroactively from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2016. The new contract includes delays in salary increases and changed steps in the teacher salary schedule. Health insurance contributions will also increase while insurance buyouts will decrease.

Officials described the deal as something that benefits teachers, taxpayers and students alike. Teachers Association President James Groven said he thought it was a fair deal “in light of the tax cap and the economy and where other districts are settling.”

“We were looking for stability,” Groven said. “We were looking to protect ourselves against the tax cap, should it continue.”

Groven also said the teachers union looked to protect itself from other reforms in Albany, such as an unlikely repeal of the Triborough Amendment. The Triborough Amendment prohibits employers from altering provisions in expired labor agreements until a new deal is reached.

Groven said he was “ecstatic” that the long negotiation process was over. Negotiating officials began meeting intensely at the end of the summer and have been hammering out final points for the last few months he added.

Roelle said the negotiating teams “did a terrific job over a very long period of time” and that the teachers union worked with the district to help resolve budgetary issues.

“I think we're in a good place for a long period of time,” Roelle said.

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