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Bedford Central CSEA Staffers Get New Union Deal

Five-year contract includes 1-1.5-percent salary increases, higher insurance rate contribution.

Civil Service Employees Association members in the Bedford Central School District now have a new contract in place.

The deal was approved unanimously by the school board at Wednesday's meeting and approved by the local CSEA, which represents non-teaching staff, at a June 19 meeting. It serves as a 5-year extension the existing contract, which was also five years and expires on Saturday.The agreement starts on July 1 and runs until June 30, 2017.

The contract calls for modest salary increases, with 1-percent raises for 2012, 2013 and 2016, and of 1.5 percent for 2014 and 2015.

Insurance contribution rates will increase, but at different levels. New employees will have a 15-percent rate. Current employees who make less than $35,000 annually will see their rate set at 8 percent in 2012, 9 percent in 2013, 10 percent in 2014, 11 percent in 2014 and 12 percent in 2015. Existing employees who make more than $35,000 will have a rate of 10 percent from 2012-14, an increase to 11 percent in 2015 and to 12 by 2016.

The new agreement was crafted with the economic impact of the annual property tax levy cap in mind, which has been in effect since it was passed by the state last year. It limits levy rises in school and municipal budgets to the lesser of two percent or inflation, although it includes exemptions for factors such as changes to the property tax base and some pension costs.

Superintendent Jere Hochman said: “Collectively, financial increases in the areas of salary and benefits are aligned with our current guiding principle that annual expenditure increases should not exceed district’s 3-year trend of 2-percent-or-less tax levy increases, and now not exceeding the allowable increase for the tax cap.”

School board President Susan Elion Wollin described the news as “respectfully realistic of our community and the taxpayers’ ability to support the budget and at the same time really again affirms the CSEA’s commitment to be fully active partners with the district going forward.”

“We strongly feel that for the economic times we are experiencing this contract addresses both the District’s tax cap issue and safeguard’s CSEA’s major areas of concern," CSEA President MaryLou Cavaliere said in a press release. "The CSEA negotiating committee and the Board of Education worked cooperatively to finalize this contract in a timely manner. In view of the fact that we had overwhelmingly voted for a freeze when proposed by the District, we trust the Board of Education will support CSEA when we reopen our contract in the fifth year.”

A press release announcing the deal, along with a copy of it, are attached to this story as PDF files.

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