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Story - Education

Mar 3, 2010 12:05 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

12 hours of negotiation yield another stand-off for Sag Harbor schools

Mar 3, 2010 12:05 PM

After nearly 12 hours at the negotiating table, the Sag Harbor School District and representatives of its teachers union parted ways at around midnight on Saturday without reaching an agreement on a new teachers contract.

The union, the Teachers Association of Sag Harbor, issued a press release on Tuesday accusing the district, as it has numerous times in the past, of not negotiating in good faith. The union said the district came to the table but started out stating that no settlement would ever be reached without “major concessions” by the teachers.

“That is a lot of things, all of them misguided, but nothing close to either the true spirit or actual definition of ‘negotiations,’” union head Eileen Kochanasz said in the statement. “In true negotiations there needs to be a spirit of ‘mutuality’ where both sides respect and attempt to deal with each other’s issues and/or needs.”

District Superintendent Dr. John Gratto, who has led the negotiations for the district, said the teachers are hung up on the district’s strong stance on a single issue—salaries—and are not approaching the negotiations with an eye to finding other concessions the district may be willing to make.

“They see negotiating as continuously making an offer, then a counteroffer, until both parties meet in the middle. We don’t see that as negotiating,” Dr. Gratto said. “We think we’ve made a very fair offer for five years, and that it would be cost prohibitive to go above that.”

The teachers have been working without a new contract for nearly three years.

MICHAEL WRIGHT

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As a taxpayer in Sag Harbor i think that the school made a mistake by giving Gratto such a large increase in pay for What doing his job,That money could been used to give to the teachers who deserve a raise for doing there jobs.Wake up school board!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By taxpayer1 (72), Southampton on Mar 8, 10 3:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Isn't the definition of negotiating making an offer, receiving a counteroffer and then meeting somewhere in the middle? Kochanasz is right, there is no spirit of mutuality here.

Gratto was a mistake from the get go and it's atrocious that the he got a raise and teachers are STILL working without a contract.
By RealLocal (76), Bridgehampton on Mar 10, 10 4:50 PM
Thats right...just raise our taxes...who cares if we cannot afford it? They "deserve" an increase. It is starting to sound like western Suffolk...shame on you.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 10, 10 10:25 PM