Fort Plain Teachers Association agrees on new
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
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
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