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Gouverneur Central links contract with administrators

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GOUVERNEUR — The Gouverneur Central School board has ratified a contract with the Gouverneur Administrators Association that is expected to save more than $100,000 in health care costs over the life of the agreement.

“The big thing was health insurance. I’m just pleased that people maintain a benefit that also benefits the district,” Superintendent Lauren F. French said. “The plan encourages consumerism so that people can make choices. The plan can do things to contain costs. That’s what is really helpful.”

The agreement with administrators and all managerial-confidential employees, through June 30, 2017, includes a conversion to Rider 9 of the medical plan, which offers cost-saving measures.

Members will increase their contribution for their medical plan to 10 percent on July 1, 2014, and 12 percent on July 1, 2015. New administrators will contribute on a sliding scale up to 20 percent at the conclusion of the contract.

“They are leading by example,” Mrs. French said in a statement. “These savings can be directly channeled into student opportunities and assist in maintaining a stable budget.”

The agreement affects 22 people but could have a larger impact on negotiations with teachers, which begin in January. Teachers contribute 7 percent of the cost of their premiums and are on different rider plans.

The contract with the association also includes a 2.5 percent salary increase each year.

The agreement includes creation of a labor management committee to reduce conventional adversarial bargaining.

“Our goal is to help in any way possible and to give back to our students and staff,” association President Victoria L. Day said in a statement. “Our members appreciate the non-stressful way of working as a labor-management committee to bring issues to the table and solve those issues as a team.”

As part of the agreement, the district also increased funds for membership in professional organizations by $1,000.

At its Monday meeting, the school board appointed Pyramid Brokerage Co. to market the closed Fowler School and will meet with a representative of the firm next Monday.

The district’s goal is to find a developer or buyer who will convert the former school into a facility that could offer medical services, child care, senior care or municipal services, or a combination of those uses, Mrs. French said.

Two parties who wish to remain nameless for the time being are interested in the building, she said.

The school board also accepted the retirement of Susan Watson, assistant middle school/high school principal, and appointed Alan G. Betrus, a former Gouverneur teacher and St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services administrator, to an interim position at a salary of $250 per day.

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