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More Than 100 Protest Lack Of Clarkstown Teachers' Contract

Over 100 people protested the lack of a new contract for Clarkstown Central School District employees ahead of a Board of Education meeting on June 2.
Over 100 people protested the lack of a new contract for Clarkstown Central School District employees ahead of a Board of Education meeting on June 2. Video Credit: Zachary Croce
Protestors in support of the Clarkstown Teacher's Association Photo Credit: Zachary Croce
Members of the Clarkstown Teacher's Association Photo Credit: Zachary Croce

NEW CITY, N.Y. - More than 100 protested the lack of a new contract for Clarkstown Central School District employees ahead of a Board of Education meeting Thursday night.

This was the second such protest in as many months by members of the Clarkstown Teachers Association and the Rockland County Civil Service Employees Association Local 844-the district's ground, maintenance, and custodial staff.

Clad in blue shirts, protestors were stationed at both entrances to Felix Festa Middle School on Parrott Road Thursday night. Some held signs that read "CTA Highly Effective Highly Undervalued" and "They Stand With Us, We Stand With Them," while others cheered as cars passed by and honked their horns in support.

Tom Holahan, president of Local 844, said their contract expired in June 30, 2015 while the contract for the teacher's association expired Aug. 31, 2015.

During the meeting several members from the public spoke in support of the teachers and their deserving of a new, fair contract.

Deborah Ferrara, a teacher and parent in the district, noted this was the first time since 1980 that the teachers are working under the terms of an expired contract. She also pointed out that Clarkstown teachers are paid the lowest salaries on average among Rockland County educators while contributing the most toward their health benefits.

"We support our negotiating team and hope for a contract that supports the work that we do on behalf of the Clarkstown Central School District," Ferrara said.

Vishal Mathews, a senior at Clarkstown North and the school president, also spoke in support of the teachers and lauded several individually for helping Mathews through a difficult period.

"These teachers that are here right now do a lot more than you pay them for," Mathews said.

Both Mathews and Ferrara received extended standing ovations along with others who spoke in support.

Board of Education President Michael Aglialoro said the two sides have been negotiating since last year and plan to return to the table on Monday. He declined to identify what issues are preventing the sides from reaching an agreement.

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