0% raise in new Port Washington teacher contract

March 26, 2010 3:39:16 PM PDT
Teachers in Port Washington accept a 0% raise in the first year of their new 5-year contract."Certainly tough but we did it with respect and patience," said Christine Vasiley, a teacher in the Port Washington School District.

Vasilev has been a teacher in the Port Washington School District for 22 years.

Times are tougher than ever and negotiating a contract in this economic climate was not easy.

"I would say we reached a fair deal for everyone, students and teachers," said Vasiley.

In fact, Vasilev and her fellow teachers were facing the threat of layoffs.

In an effort to avoid the layoffs, the teachers agreed to an unprecedented 0% raise for the first year.

Under the 5-year deal, the last 4 years of the contract include incremental raises from 1.75% to 2.95%.

School superintendent Geoff Gordon says it was particularly rough for teachers who were getting pressure from their peers in other districts.

"In the 76 year history, never zero. But, it was hard work," said Gordon.

15 teachers are expected to retire during the 5-year contract.

The money saved by the retirements will pay for the raises.

Teacher salaries range from $53,000 to $124,000 a year.

"The median is $100,000! It's killing the taxpayer," said Frank Russo, a Port Washington resident.

Teachers were also feeling the heat from homeowners like Frank Russo who says taxes are already through the roof and will not vote in favor of passing the budget.

"They're getting too much already," said Russo.

But, some believe the value of a good teacher is immeasurable

"I would say look at the miracles performed in the classrooms around the country," defended Vasiley.