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 www.seethroughny.net, 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

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.