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Contract Negotiations Drag for South Hadley Teachers

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SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB)– South Hadley High School student Jay Patruno wasn’t too happy when he heard that some teacher’s jobs might be cut next year, under the impression Superintendent Nick Young was making the call solo. That wasn’t the case.

“They might think of us as being students, that we don’t really care, but, we are the school system, so what they’re doing is for us. Maybe I shouldn’t care as much. I’m gone in a month. The kids under me aren’t involved as much the way they should be,” Patruno said.

School committee chair Kevin McCallister says the teacher’s union and school committee are in contract negotiations, they happen every 3 years. Although Superintendent Young says the talks aren’t hostile, they have brought in a mediator. “We’ve been in negotiations since late November.

From what I hear, I don’t think we’ve ever gotten to this point,” stated McCallister. According to a budget draft on the town’s website, the school department would tentatively be allotted just over $21 million.

If that’s the case, why the layoffs?

“We’re in a position of about 40-75 students down next fall. We just simply can’t run classes if there’s nobody in the classroom to teach,”

The proposal doesn’t guarantee the school department will get the 1.6% budget increase they’re asking for.

Mccallister also notes that a lower town population, and a recently closed landfill also hurt the town’s tax revenue.

For now, no one has been laid off, and no other cuts have been made.

McCallister says they’ll have a clearer picture of the budget next month.

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