As schools open, the number of school districts at impasse with teacher unions has increased by 12 percent since a year ago, according to the Public Employment Relations Board. Also noteworthy–although not emphasized by PERB–nearly one out of three school districts has yet to negotiate a new contract with its teachers.

In its annual pre-Labor Day review of school contracts, PERB reports that teacher contracts in 53 districts are at impasse, up from 47 last year. However, “the number ranks well below historic averages since the advent of the State’s Taylor Law…”

(Note: the report currently is not available on PERB’s web site. We have posted a link here.)

According to PERB, about 175 other school districts are without new contracts, the same estimate the agency gave last year.

That means 228 of the state’s 733 school districts and BOCES districts–31 percent of the total–lack contracts.

Current teacher union contracts are posted on the, the Empire Center’s government transparency web site. Also available are superintendent contracts and past teacher salaries.

No school district has gone longer without a contract than Buffalo, which “is now entering its sixth year without a teacher agreement in place, the impasse continuing to be complicated by ongoing litigation and the existence of a financial control board in that city,” according to PERB.

Richard A. Curreri, director of conciliation for PERB, notes:

It is remarkable that we have witnessed only an uptick rather than an explosion in the number of contract impasses, given the precipitous downturn in the State and national economy over the course of this past year. To their credit, both sides of the table appear to have moderated their demands and assumed more realistic bargaining postures in the face of financial realities. Less clear, however, is whether the parties in a significant number of cases have opted to simply delay serious negotiations or implement very short term solutions, in hopes of getting a better handle on whether economic indicators signal recovery or further decline. Whether or not relative labor-management harmony can continue may well rest with those indicators, and whether they are read the same, or differently, by the parties.

The 53 districts at impasse are:

  • Western NY: Brockport, Buffalo, Campbell-Savona, Chautauqua, Dansville, Frewsburg, GatesChili*, Greece, Holley, Lancaster, Orleans-Niagara BOCES, Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, West Irondequoit and Wheatland-Chili.
  • Central NY: Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, Auburn, Ilion , New York Mills, Newfield, Oneida* and Whitney Point.
  •  Northern NY: Beekmantown ,Catskill, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Duanesburg, Gilboa-Conesville, Gloversville, Greater Johnstown, Green Island, Hudson Falls, Hunter-Tannersville, Menands, New Lebanon, Rotterdam-Mohonasen, Schenevus, Schoharie, Taconic Hills and Worcester.
  • Downstate: Garrison, Hastings-On-Hudson, Kingston, Minisink Valley, North Merrick, Onteora, Pleasantville, Red Hook, Rye, Sag Harbor, South Country, Tri Valley*, Uniondale, Washingtonville and White Plains.

*In Gates Chili, Oneida and Tri-Valley districts, tentative agreements have been reached, but have not be ratified by one or both parties.

Originally Published: NY Public Payroll Watch

You may also like

Meanwhile, on the mandate relief front

Governor Cuomo’s 2012-13 budget, to be presented later today, will command media attention for the rest of the week. Advance reports on his modified pension reform proposal are especially promising. Meanwhile, there’s a (fiscally) cost-free approach to helping local governments and school districts alleviate their budget problems: repealing the Triborough Amendment. Read More

Legislature rejects union arbitration cap

Governor Cuomo’s proposal to cap arbitration awards for police and firefighters is not included in the Senate or Assembly budget bills. This may be blessing in disguise: as argued here, Cuomo’s original proposal didn’t go nearly far enough. Since the arbitration law expires on June 30, the governor remains in a commanding position to demand more. Read More

Labor costs rose faster in public sector in ‘09

Employee compensation in the state and local government sector increased at twice the private-sector rate during the 12 months ending in December, according to national data released todayby the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read More

Getting Triborough wrong

“Mandate relief remains elusive,” is one of the state-related headlines in today’s Albany Times Union — and that much, at least, is true. Unfortunately, the articlebeneath the headline repeats a familiar canard about the origins of the Triborough Amendment. Read More

Persuading co-workers to retire

Oneida County employees participating in a proposed cash buyout program would have a strong incentive to get their co-workers to join them: their payments will increase if more employees participate. Read More

Examining MDs

Should physicians, who are licensed by the state of New York, be required to take a civil service exam in order to work for the state of New York? A state judge thinks so, but that's unlikely to be the last word on the controversy. Read More

Car 54, where are you?

New York City will track the whereabouts of its 379 building inspectors with GPS technology installed, not in their city-issued vehicles, but in their cell phones. Read More

Streamlining state government…elsewhere

Despite the prospect of exploding budget gaps in the future, Albany has taken only modest steps toward streamlining state government, such as closing a few prisons and offering $20,000 buyouts to state employees. Read More