New leader takes reins of VSTA
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“Most people subscribe to the adage, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,’” he said, “but the current APPR system, at least as it applies to Valley Stream, is ‘if it’s not broke, let’s break it.’”
The new Common Core Learning Standards were hastily introduced, Naglieri said, with no supporting textbooks or materials. He noted that none of the four Valley Stream districts got enough money from the state (New York was allocated $700 million from the federal government) to hire even one additional teacher.
Naglieri says these changes equate to a usurping of control by the state, with local schools boards becoming less and less powerful. The union and the school districts actually have more in common than ever before, he said.
Over the next several months, Naglieri will be diving into negotiations for several of VSTA’s bargaining units. Contracts for the teachers, nurses, secretaries and high school teaching assistants expire at the end of this school year. Teaching aides in District 13 are already without a contract.
Naglieri said the objective in all negotiations will be to get raises for employees, improve working conditions, and ensure that positions and programs are being maintained.
Last year, teachers took a one-year salary freeze in an effort to help the school districts control costs. They also delayed their longevity-based Step increments twice during the current four-year contract.
“I would hope people would understand, and the community that we serve would understand, that we made those concessions in an effort to preserve programs,” Naglieri said. “Teachers were aware of the economic realities and responded appropriately to them.”
Naglieri said he hopes to get VSTA more involved in political action, as well as in activities in Valley Stream. He also wants to increase the use of technology in the organization, so more communication with the teachers is done electronically.