KC teachers agree to two-year pay freeze

Parties negotiate new three-year contract

MILL HALL – After four weeks of negotiations, unionized teachers in the Keystone Central School District have agreed to a new three year contract that includes two years of no cost of living pay increases.

Teachers will continues to receive salary increases based on a negotiated schedule often referred to as “step movement.”

The agreement was announced late Wednesday by the school board, administration and Association of Clinton County Educators (ACCE).

Terms of the new contract “will assist the district in addressing budget pressures,” the parties said.

“This agreement was reached because of hard work, open communication, and the desire for all three parties to reach a common goal,” Superintendent Jacquelyn Martin said in a prepared statement.

Mrs. Martin said she is “extremely pleased” with the contract proposal.

On Wednesday evening, the teachers union voted to accept the terms of an Early Bird Contract that has the potential to save $2.65 million across the next three years, with biggest savings seen in the first two years.

“We as an association are pleased with the open and honest dialogue with administration and the Keystone Central School Board. We look forward to continuing this positive relationship for the betterment of the students, community and staff,” ACCE Officer Tom Temple said, also in prepared statements.

The school board is planning to schedule a special meeting to review and vote on the tentative agreement.

If approved by the board, the contract will cover three school years from 2019 through 2022.

Board President Bo Miller said, “I’m very happy with the proposal that our negotiating teams have put together. I believe that the contract proposal is fair to all parties and keeps the needs of our educators, students and taxpayers in mind.”

Details of the new contract proposal will be shared with the board Thursday evening at the Keystone Central Finance and Property Committee meeting.

Key areas of the agreement include “zero percent (cost of living) increases for teacher salaries, coaching stipends, and special schedules beyond step movement for the first two years with a 1.25% increase in year three.”

“In exchange the current benefits language will remain the same as the current year with an increase in employee contribution in year three,” the district said.

“A new aspect of the contract promotes ‘personal professional learning” for teachers who wish to have choice and flexibility for their professional growth while selecting activities that meet individual needs and district goals.”