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Morristown teachers sacrifice to reinstate two positions

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MORRISTOWN - Two high school teaching positions slated for reduction in the voter-approved 2012-2013 budget for Morristown Central School have been reinstated following an agreement signed earlier this week by both the district and teachers’ association.

“The teachers will basically be giving back their 2.75 percent raise next year and the district will be restoring a .5 social studies position and a .5 English position at the high school level,” said Superintendent David J. Glover Thursday. “I appreciate the MTA’s recognition of our fiscal situation and their willingness to be part of the solution.”

The loss of aid and the state-imposed tax levy limit, Mr. Glover said, have put the school in a difficult situation.

“Our agreement will help both the budget and the instruction of our students,” he said. “It will be very helpful for next school year.”

The district’s $8.5 million budget for 2012-2013 was voter-approved Tuesday by a 153-91 vote and carries a 2.9 percent tax levy increase.

Under the budget, four teaching positions - the two reinstated plus two teaching assistants - were scheduled to be cut. Additional cuts include the reduction of a technology teacher and a music teacher to half time, a Spanish teacher to .75 time, the special education chairperson from .7 to half time, and the clerical staff to 11 months.

The concession to reinstate the two teaching positions, according to Mr. Glover, comes with a caveat.

“The district has control over what to do with the positions,” he said. “Specific to these two restorations, if one of the teachers were to decide to leave, it would be up to the discretion of the board to fill it or not.”

The district and the MTA have been working on the concession since the unanimous approval of a new three-year teachers contract in late March, a contract in which the MTA also agreed to more than double contributions to its health insurance premium - from 4.5 percent to 10 percent, beginning with the current school year.

MTA Co-Presidents Mark C. Blanchard and Karen I. Basham were contacted multiple times between Tuesday and Thursday for comment and declined.

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