For the second time in three months, members of the Herricks Teachers’ Association attended the Board of Educations regularly scheduled meeting to voice complaints over contract negotiations.
“For the first time ever, we are now approaching the beginning of the sixth month mark of working under an expired teachers’ contract,” union president Nidya Degliomini said. “Although we continue to meet, talks between the District and the HTA have reached new and unprecedented levels.”
The teachers’ association has been working without a contract since June 30.
At a previous meeting, hundreds of members of the Herricks district staff showed up in solidarity over the contract dispute. Though far less attended Thursday night, there was still standing room only in the crowded sea of blue.
“In the last five years we have worked together with the board, administration, parents and community to foster a moe positive and amiable relationship,” Degliomini, also a sixth grade english language arts and social studies teacher at Herricks Middle School, said. “This hard work took much effort from all involved parties and our students have benefitted a great deal from this partnership.”
Though Degliomini and Superintendent Fino Celano declined to discuss the disagreements publicly, Celano commented on the status of the negotiations.
“The district and Herricks Teachers’ Association have been engaged in collective bargaining for some time now,” Celano said. “Unfortunately, it is not yet produced a settlement.”
A mediator is now working the board and HTA to continue the negotiations, Celano said.
“The board is committed to achieving a settlement that is fair and equitable for not only the teachers but the Herricks community,” Celano said. “The board is ever mindful of the economic conditions that our taxpayers face.”
Degliomini, in addressing the board, invited members to attend the HTA’s next meeting session in January. Celano could not confirm whether or not a board member would be in attendance, but said that the board is in constant communications with the attorney at the bargaining meetings.
After comments from the public, the board hosted a presentation from Park East Construction Corp., the company responsible for the Capital Projects improvements in the district.
Phase two of the district’s construction project is essentially complete and the board is now looking ahead to phase three, Assistant Superintendent for Business Lisa Rutkoske said.
The capital project plan is largely funded by a $25 million bond issue that was approved by the voters in December 2016. The rest of the funding comes from capital reserve funds.
Improvements to the comfort station at the high school athletic field were completed in October, including bathroom fixtures and accessories, partitions, exterior lighting fixtures and new epoxy flooring throughout.
Site work involving the field’s new grandstand includes the completed installation of the new grandstand, brick veneer on the exterior columns and general site restoration.
Projected work for November to be completed includes the installation of a decorative wrought iron fence at both the new grandstand and comfort stations, and a completion of the construction’s punch list.
The board will meet again Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.