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Oct 14, 2009 11:59 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor teachers plan to march through village

Oct 14, 2009 11:59 AM

With contract negotiations between the Sag Harbor School District teachers union and School Board at an impasse, the teachers are planning to march through the village’s Main Street business district later this month to draw attention to their cause.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Sag Harbor Village Board told representatives of the Teachers Association of Sag Harbor that it could hold a gathering on Long Wharf and then march up the village’s Main Street and continue on to the front lawn of the Pierson School on Division Street.

The “informational picket walk” will take place on Monday, October 19, at 4:30 p.m. Eileen Kochanasz, president of the TASH, said that the event will start with a brief kickoff speech on the Long Wharf and that the teachers will be looking to educate the public about the stalled contract negotiations with the district.

Some Village Board members expressed concerns about the march, but approved the gathering permit unanimously.

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea,” Trustee Tiffany Scarlatto said. “We are the ones who will take the flak for this, from the store owners.”

Ms. Kochanasz said that teachers would be speaking personally to store owners along Main Street prior to the march.

Contract negotiations have been stalled for more than a year. The main sticking point has been over salary increases. Teachers have demanded 3.9-percent annual increases over five years, irrespective of additional longevity increases. The district has demanded that the annual step increases be included in the annual salary raises and has offered a 2.5-percent base salary hike for each of three years.

The district has thus far refused to enter into binding arbitration. In August, an independent fact finder largely sided with the teachers, though the district noted that he was given only a few days to review the contracts and that he did not address some of the main issues regarding it.

Sag Harbor teachers have been working without a contract since June 2008.

michael wright

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I am disgusted with TASH "demanding" anything. In the business world, if you don't like your job or your pay, you are invited to leave. While most of the real workers on the East End have taken substantial reductions in income due to the recession - myself included, it is agravatingl to watch this ongoing
"Kochansz Klowns" show. Please - grow up, accept that you still have a great paying job with super benefits, stop whining that you deserve even more than you get, and go do what you're ...more
By SagHarborBob (91), Sag Harbor on Oct 16, 09 2:44 PM
I agree with SagHarborBob. I wish I could get a 3.9% increase in my salary this year. The shirts the teachers are wearing to school every day the students find distracting so please take them off. The teachers should be ashamed of themselves being so greedy on such hard economic times. I understand that I will not get an increase in my salary this year you don't see myself and my co workers wearing shrits and acting like spoiled brats not getting our own way. If the teachers aren't happy go ...more
By favaunt (24), Sag Harbor on Oct 16, 09 8:03 PM
I think the school board is totally lame. The teachers deserve both a contract and a raise. Mostworkers I know have not taken a decrease in salary-unless they are in real estate-the real estate agents are the ones who deserve to lose money-they falsely inflated the market and now are whining that they didn't make mega money last year. If they got a real job like teaching or plumbing or nursing they would be fine.
I am glad to pay my school taxes-too bad favaunt and sagHarbor Bob never got a ...more
By Callie (30), Sag Harbor on Oct 18, 09 1:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
Callie, I couldn't say it better myself! These teachers aren't asking for more, they are trying to protect what they have. They have not only earned it with countless years of education but they are paying for it as well in means of student loans etc. Usually these accusations are thrown out by people who couldn't bother getting a decent higher education, then complain that life is not fair. No this isn't the corporate world, that job is way to easy compared to teaching 25 human beings. I honestly ...more
By hamptonteacher (13), East Hampton on Oct 18, 09 2:39 PM
My writing ability? Look at yours!! By the way, teachers are not paid for the summers, they put aside money from each check to pay for the summer. Without teachers, the working class would not be able to sign their own name. Where in my post indicated greed? Looks like more assumptions to me. Those countless hours teacher provide show dedication. Now tell me INS, when was the last time you volunteered or dedicated your time for someone other than yourself?
I am so glad your not a teacher, ...more
By hamptonteacher (13), East Hampton on Oct 18, 09 9:36 PM
By hamptonteacher (13), East Hampton on Oct 18, 09 9:37 PM
I am so saddened by the hard feelings these negotiations, or lack thereof on the part of the Board, have caused in our community. I still do not understand how the Board could justify Dr. Gratto's receiving a raise when their claim is that money is so tight and that the economy is so bad! Why do different rules apply in that situation? It is time for the Board to stop wasting time sending updates to the community that only tell part of the story and use that time to resume negotiations; and it ...more
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Oct 18, 09 2:53 PM
To callie : For the record, the SagHarbor teachers have received raises over the last 2 yeras. By law they are required to get their automatic step increase and raise which according to the news stories is about 2.8% to 3.0% depending on the teachers grade. They want pay raises in addition to the automatic, non performance based, raise they receive with or without a contract. I believe they want somewhere around 4% above the automatic raise -- that's almost 7% per year. Do you know anyone ...more
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on Oct 18, 09 3:05 PM
Callie FYI I am a graduate of PHS and yes I did graduate college. If you want to talk about dedicated teachers at PHS I did have them and they were well respected. They would stay late in the day to help many students with their work something you do not see today. No I have not had a pay decrease but I do know of some friends that have. I for one understand the hard economic times that are going on now and continue at my job 24/7 without looking for an increase. Just happy to be working. ...more
By favaunt (24), Sag Harbor on Oct 18, 09 6:08 PM
2 members liked this comment
Enough is enough!!! Wearing shirts to school, protesting in the community???? Some examples for our children!! Why are teachers different than anyone else?? No one I know gets "automated" step increases in the real world. Teachers who do not even deserve that get it. What are they giving back to the community and to our children? Teachers (most) do not even stay five minutes longer after school to help a child (unless of course you can pay them). Demand???? an increase. Come to the real ...more
By powerwalker (52), Southampton on Oct 18, 09 8:52 PM
Teachers are lucky that NY is one of the few states that doesn't recognize "at will" employment. I have no doubt many teachers work hard, but try looking at some of the southern states where teachers work 60-80 hours a week for a 40-hour salary just to keep their jobs.

I'm not saying that at will employment is a better way to go, but perhaps teachers should be a little more appreciative of what they DO have.

I also agree that the salary is an ANNUAL salary. I have a tough time ...more
By diy_guy (101), Southampton on Oct 19, 09 6:38 AM
I, too, do not have much sympathy for teachers wanting raises in our present economy. I know too many people who have lost their jobs.
I'm also disappointed that these teachers find it necessary to wear tee shirts to school - seems a bit juvenile and very self serving.
And do you think you could refrain from referring to people who don't agree with you as the "working class"? Isn't that a little ignorant and mean spirited on your part? As teachers you should be able to voice your ...more
By lovesag (17), Sag Harbor on Oct 19, 09 8:12 AM
2 members liked this comment
When i was a student at Sag Harbor Elementary in the 70's the teachers picketed before and after school to help their cause. Once school started it was business as usual. It is extremely unprofessional and irresponsible to intimidate and manipulate children with these shirts of protest. Though i completely agree that the senior message was over the top. The line " Those ugly gray shirts you wear everyday DISTRACT US FROM LEARNING put them away." has me and my entire family both concerned and upset. ...more
By double-D (96), southampton on Oct 19, 09 11:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well, just saw the spectacle in our small town.....teachers dragging very small children through town........teachers from other areas; notably Wading River....
You all must be so proud of yourselves. There are SO many people out of work and so many people have taken pay cuts. BUT, the Sag Harbor teachers want more than their allotted raise this year. Shame on you!
By lovesag (17), Sag Harbor on Oct 19, 09 6:58 PM
I saw the "Kochansz Klowns Show" parade in town this afternoon - with many imported "protesters" from Wading River, etc. Teachers - you are burying yourselves with anti-teacher sentiment. The Tribe has spoken - leave the Island!

And, why hasn't the Sag Harbor School Superintendent and the various School Principals put a stop to teacher demonstrations within the schools?
By SagHarborBob (91), Sag Harbor on Oct 19, 09 7:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
Teachers are now saying that their automatic step increase is not really a raise because it is guaranteed by law whether or not they have a contract. Only in teacher land do we see such nonsense. If you make $50,000 one year and $52,000 the next, then you received a $2,000 raise. In teacher land however if $1,000 of that was from your automatic step increment and $1,000 was from a negotiated percentage increase then you only really received a $1,000 raise. Is that crazy or what? Where else ...more
By eastend09 (43), east hampton on Oct 19, 09 10:37 PM
1 member liked this comment