The Miller Place Board of Education (BOE), with the help of the Miller Place Teachers Association (MPTA), the Miller Place Administrators Association (MPAA), and this community, appears to have secured our fiscal situation for the next several years. The year-to-year budgetary angst may finally have been put to rest.
The Miller Place Teachers Association has overwhelmingly voted to accept a new four year contract that will save most of the teachers that would have been laid off while also saving the District considerable expenses. (Details after checklist). Thank you MPTA! We needed you to make this happen.
The checklist below highlights the goals and successes of this BOE:
Propose the budget within the tax cap - CHECK
Pass the budget - CHECK (with a 69% approval vote from community)
Secure four-year contract with MPTA which provides a foundation for a longer term stability in the district - CHECK (with a 68% approval)
Save most teachers from layoffs - CHECK
Save programs - CHECK
Save sports and clubs - CHECK
Improved budget process (community input about the budget process through the Budget Process Advisory Committee and Budget FAQ) - CHECK
Address the curriculum issue (Asst. Supt. Hodun’s new role) - CHECK
Do so in cost neutral manner - CHECK
Address issue of superintendent continuity - CHECK
Address Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) with resident expert Seth Lipshie - CHECK
Bring fiscal responsibility/confidence back to the District - CHECK
Retain valued HS Principal Kevin Slavin - CHECK
Offer a 2nd health plan option that lowers costs to teachers and lowers District healthcare costs – CHECK
According to an MPTA member, some details about the new agreement:
- 4 year extension (after this year)
- "0"/"00" steps added to start of salary schedule
- Coaches salaries freeze for year 1 & 2
- Formation of an additional sick bank (teachers can be granted extra sick day instead of receiving compensation for chaperoned events and class coverages)
- 2012-13: .4% raise plus step
- 2013-14: .6% raise plus step
- 2014-15: .8% raise plus step
- 2015-16: .9% raise plus step
- A 2nd health plan option that lowers costs to teachers
- The District will not ask for concessions for the life of this MOA
This deal is worth about $2 million in savings to the District over the next four years. The District will be paying the 2.7% they owed the teachers next year spread over the next four years as four smaller raises (.4%,.6%,.8%, and.9%) which is like paying them 2.7%,0%,0%,0%.
Layoffs were avoided which also saved the District about $400,000 in unemployment compensation. A few teachers were reduced from full-time status to permanent sub status which is very unfortunate. I had hoped that no full-time jobs would be lost.
Another major victory was getting an additional health care plan in the contract by January 2013, which can potentially save the district much money in the future. This plan will cost less for teachers who buy in and will reduce healthcare costs. It is a win-win.
A huge thanks to the Miller Place PTO for donating $95,000 last night which will reinstate several clubs that have been gone for years such as clubs for AMPS, LADSBS, Varsity Club, Lego League or Junior Robotics, Mathletes, Mock Trial, as well as several others to be determined by the BOE. The MPTO certainly fulfilled their “for the kids” mission with this donation. While other Districts are cutting, Miller Place will be adding!
We must also thank the leadership of Miller Place Athletic Boosters Club, Miller Place Friends of the Arts, and Miller Place Robotics Booster Club for agreeing to stand together in solidarity that there be no cuts to any programs or there would be “no” votes from all groups.
The Miller Place Community was also instrumental in achieving these goals. The Community was united about keeping the programs and staying within the tax cap while avoiding the usual playing one segment against the other. In our solidarity there was great strength and this BOE heard our message loudly and clearly.
All of the items in the above checklist were accomplished in under one year. Although there are a few remaining issues to deal with, after seeing this amazing checklist, I feel quite confident that we have the right BOE, the right Admin and the right union leaders in place to get the job done.
Marc Bloom, Vice-President of the Miller Place Athletic Booster Club said it best in an email to me today:
“Last year at this time we were in a very bad spot…..but no one knew it. We have spent the last 12 months wishing we were Mt. Sinai, Rocky Point, etc. ‘Why does Mt. Sinai have this, that and others?’ Now everyone is asking “How did Miller Place do it?”
When we all work together with open and courteous lines of communication and are led by a fiscally-responsible BOE that carries our pro-education message, good things will happen. That is how Miller Place did it.