School labor laws frustrate cost cuts

Interesting information:

“Approximately 70 percent of school expenses are dedicated to salary and benefits of employees. This large percentage is to be expected since education is a people-intensive process, but it also means employee-related costs have a huge effect on our total expenditures and budgets.

The following are only a few of the labor-related items contributing to higher school taxes:

# Did you know our state government determines school district employee pensions and by law employees do not contribute to their own retirement funds after 10 years of service?

# Did you know by law school districts cannot unilaterally change the health benefits for retirees unless the same changes are made for active employees?

# Did you know by law disciplinary procedures result in the required expenditure by school districts of huge legal fees and the continuation of salary and benefits for the nonworking employee being disciplined? In 2004, a New York State School Boards Association survey revealed the average disciplinary process resolution takes 520 days at a cost of $128,941.

# Did you know by law school districts have no recourse but to continue the terms and benefits of expired contracts including the payment of job steps, regardless of the length of time it takes to settle a new one?

All the above issues created by laws cost districts real money and can be resolved by legislative action to change those laws, with no cost to New York state taxpayers. Considering the current fiscal crisis, containment of costs would go a long way toward containment of taxes… ”

School labor laws frustrate cost cuts
Source: Poughkeepsie Journal, Feb 10, 2009.

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