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David W. Ziskin

Superintendent of Schools

25 High Street

Fort Plain, NY 13339





Fort Plain Teachers Association agrees on new two-year contract

The Fort Plain Teachers Association agreed to a new two-year contract in May where they agreed to switch to a lower-cost health care plan and forgo cost-of-living raises for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. Teachers will only receive salary increases under the current step schedule in both years of the contract.

District leaders estimate the change in the health care plan – which keeps the equivalent benefits of the old plan – will save the district more than $50,000.

“We are very pleased with this contract,” said Superintendent Douglas C. Burton. “The district will provide a 125 flex plan to all employees, which will translate into savings for the district and employees, as their portions of the premiums will be taken from pre-tax dollars.”

The district has been looking for ways to cut costs despite a 2.48 increase in spending for the 2012-13 school year. Like many districts, Fort Plain is facing higher costs for some expenses over which it has little control such as gasoline and diesel fuel, health insurance and New York State Retirement System contributions.

For the 2012-13 school year, the district avoided the deep staff and program cuts it had made in previous years to address funding shortfalls and increasing costs. Still, the district eliminated one elementary teaching position and one physical therapist position.

The teacher’s union and district also negotiated the details of the new teacher evaluation plan – the Annual Professional Performance Plan (or “APPR”) – in the new contract. The state mandated APPR outlines how teachers and administrators will be evaluated based on a 100-point scale. Districts without an approved plan in place by Jan. 17, 2013 risk losing state aid for the 2012-2013 school year.

A total of 80 percent of the evaluation specifics must be bargained collectively in each district, according to state guidelines.

“Our APPR plan has already been approved by the State Education Department,” Mr. Burton said. “That means everything is in place to start the new school year.”

A copy of the plan is in the district website at www.fortplain.org.

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