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December 12, 2008

Beekmantown School Board rejects contract

BEEKMANTOWN — The Beekmantown Central School Board, in a 5-4 vote, opted not to accept the negotiated agreement with its Teachers Association.



Board members who voted against the measure said they could not approve the contract in good faith, given the uncertainty of the state budget as the nation struggles through a recession.



The faculty union questioned the School Board's leadership after the vote.



"It is discouraging that the Board of Education as a whole is not on the same page as its representatives," said Greg Myers, president of the Beekmantown Teachers Association.



Negotiations between district representatives and Beekmantown teachers began about seven months ago, with School Board President Stan Kourofsky and Leonard King heading the district's team.



"They were conducted thoroughly and in good faith," Myers said.



Both sides reached an agreement that teachers overwhelmingly ratified hours before the School Board meeting.



Myers thanked King and Kourofsky for the countless hours they put into the negotiation process and the "fair and equitable" agreement that was reached.



Before the board vote, King thanked the Teachers Association for "good negotiations."



"I know it was long work sessions that we stood together, and both parties didn't get exactly what they wanted, but I do hope, as a board, we can put our differences aside and give you guys a good contract."



If approved, the new contract would have run from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2011.



The board vote was: Kourofsky, yes; Richard Lavigne, yes; George Palmer, no; Guy Falcon, no; Frank Hay, no; Kathleen Grinberg-Funes, no; King, yes; Karen Armstrong, yes; and Steve Trombley, no.



No one would discuss details of the contract.



Falcon expressed his desire to approve the pact but said he could not do so in light of the state's economic conditions. Teachers are worth it, he said, but he must consider taxpayers until there is more information from the state.

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