SeeThroughNY Posts 163 Updated School Labor Contracts

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CONTACT: Lise Bang-Jensen

(518) 434 -3100

Updated school labor contracts for 77 teacher unions and 86 school superintendents were posted today on www.SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s government transparency web site.

The newest contacts (most have a July 1, 2009 effective date) are part of the most comprehensive public collection of school district labor contracts in New York. Contracts for the 733 school districts and BOCES districts were obtained under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The majority of those contracts apply to the coming school year. A number of FOIL requests for updated contracts are pending.

“This makes it easier for parents and taxpayers see how the contracts impact what happens in the classroom and the size of their school property tax bills,” said Lise Bang-Jensen, senior policy analyst for the Empire Center. For example, teacher contracts can determine base salaries; step raises and extra pay for seniority; pay for non-teaching duties such as coaching; length of school year, work schedules and time off; class size, student discipline and teacher evaluation; grievance and disciplinary procedures; scheduling of parent-teacher conferences; and health insurance benefits for employees, retirees and their families.

A regional breakdown of the 163 updated contracts follows (click region name for area specific release and list of districts with updated contracts):

Since its launch on July 31, 2009, the SeeThroughNY site has been visited more than 1.3 million times, generating 5 million data requests, also known as “page loads.”

SeeThroughNY also offers searchable databases of complete employee payrolls for the state government, New York City, public school districts and 19 public authorities; a breakdown of nearly $300 million in legislative pork barrel allocations approved this year and last year; operations spending by the state Senate and Assembly; and a “benchmarking” tool to compare local government spending on a per-capita basis.

The Albany-based Empire Center is a non-partisan, independent think tank.