Back to School: Some staff, teachers head back without a contract

CHENANGO COUNTY – Feeling a sense of equality among their counterparts is just one topic local school employees say is on the table in on-going contract negotiations.

Norwich Educational Support Staff Association (NESSA) President Patricia Pepe and Vice President Donald Tubbs say they will not back down when it comes to employee contracts this year. Operating under the same contract used in past years, roughly 200 Norwich City School District support staff employees will be without a new contract when school begins today.

According to a study conducted by DCMO BOCES, the Norwich support staff is currently earning wages that are 14.49 percent below the county’s median hourly salary for other support staff workers. “It would take a 14.49 percent raise not to bring us to the top, but to bring us to the median, the average of what other districts are paying,” said Tubbs.

“We want salaries that are competitive with those of our counterparts,” Pepe said. “We will do what we have to until we get a proper agreement,” adding that, “our concern is for the children. We will not make this an issue inside of the school buildings, but we want the community to be aware of what is going on.”

In previous two day-long sessions, Pepe says accompanying her and Tubbs to the bargaining table was David Schreiber, a representative from New York State United Teachers Union, as well as Norwich City School District representatives Mark Pettitt from DCMO BOCES, Kim Perez from human resources, Deputy Superintendent Margaret Boice, and Superintendent of Schools Gerard O’Sullivan.

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