Hempstead School District teachers and supporters rallied outside headquarters on Monday to urge Acting Superintendent Regina Armstrong to negotiate a contract that would align teachers’ salaries with those of neighboring districts.
Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association president Nicole Brown said her members haven’t had a raise since 2010 and their contracts expired in 2013.
“What we want is very simple: we want a fair pay raise,” Brown said after the event. “No more broken promises.”
Armstrong released a statement through the district’s public relations firm, Garden City-based Gotham Government Relations LLC, that the school board and administration want to resolve the issue and that its next meeting with the teachers is scheduled for May 10.
“We know that a regulation will go a long way in fostering a more positive teaching and learning environment for our students,” said Armstrong. “Further, in order to deliver on our promise to the Hempstead community, it is essential that we align all of our resources to support student success and I can say with absolute certainty that whatever is ultimately negotiated will be in the best interest. of our students. “
Brown cited increased state and federal aid as a way for the district to pay its members as “professionals” who, despite the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in their own trauma, have come remotely or in person to do so. their work, as well as providing services after the school day.
Long Island school districts will receive more than $ 400 million in additional state aid for the 2021-2022 school year, with Hempstead close to securing a 20.24% increase.
The district is also expected to receive millions in federal grants from the Emergency Relief Fund for elementary and secondary schools.
A letter issued by the district that was sent to local state officials in March stressed that federal money cannot be used for recurring expenses such as salaries, and that the charter school funding formula did not change.
Brown admitted it was true, but said something could still be done.
“It is disheartening to know that we are still not close to a fair deal when the reading is sky-high [administrator] salary increases in the 2021-2022 school budget, “said Brown.” We don’t feel valued and we don’t feel respected. “