Cohoes school leaders and teachers have agreed to a new four-year contract that will lengthen the school day at all grade levels.
The Cohoes Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously approved the new deal, which will be in effect through the 2020-21 school year. The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2017 as teachers worked under an expired contract this year.
Under the agreement, the elementary school day will be lengthened by a total of 35 minutes, with additional time devoted to daily lessons in science and social studies. Previously, there was not enough time in the school day to teach both subjects every day. The middle school day will be increased by 22 minutes and the high school by 20 minutes. At both schools, the additional time will be divided to extend each class period equally.
“We believe the more time our students spend in the classroom, the more successful they will be,” said Cohoes Superintendent Jennifer Spring. “The length of our school day hasn’t changed in more than 50 years. With increased curricular requirements, teachers need additional time to effectively teach the standards and we want them to be properly compensated for this additional effort.”
The Cohoes Teachers Association (CTA) has almost 200 members. Under the contract, they will receive a yearly salary increase of two percent.
“Our negotiations team worked collaboratively with the district on a contract that was fair and equitable for our members and also helped to provide more instructional time for the students of Cohoes,” said CTA President Scott Ciarlone. “As with most contract negotiations, there is always give and take, but I am confident that the agreement benefits both the district in their areas of focus and initiatives and the issues that matter most to the members of the CTA.”
The CTA overwhelmingly approved the contract by a vote of 175 to 23.
“The need for a longer school day came out of our Every Minute Matters attendance campaign,” Spring said. “We believe each additional minute students are in their classrooms learning will translate to increased student achievement. The Cohoes community should be proud to have teachers who are deeply committed to making that happen.”
New start/dismissal times for 2018-19 school year:
• Elementary: 8:25 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.
• Middle School: 8:05 a.m. to 2:49 p.m.
• High School: 8:00 a.m. to 2:44 p.m.