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Springville teachers picket, decry impasse on contract

Disgruntled teachers, without a contract since Sept. 1, 2010, picketed outside Springville-Griffith High School prior to this week's School Board meeting. They are unhappy with the lack of progress in negotiations.

In a statement read during Tuesday's meeting, Springville Faculty Association President David Yates said the union had been patient, and assailed the board for its "unwillingness" to end the impasse. He said a tentative agreement had been reached among negotiators for the SFA, the district administration and the Public Employment Relations Board but that it was rejected by the School Board.

School officials did not comment other than to say the issue of health insurance had been "a continued challenge."

In other matters, an email between the superintendents of the Springville-Griffith and Hamburg school districts concerning Chris Cerrone, who lives in the Springville district but works in the Hamburg district, had Cerrone demanding to see other emails between the two officials. Superintendent Paul M. Connelly said he did not want to release them because it was the right of a superintendent to have interagency contact.

Cerrone brought backup with him, however, including former Hamburg teacher Chuck Mahoney, who told the board that if the Springville superintendent wouldn't release the email, they should fire him for insubordination.

Sally Stevenson, a board member-elect in Hamburg and a longtime critic of Hamburg Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch, lambasted Connelly, warning, "I will see you in Supreme Court. I'm well-armed. I have a team behind me. I will win."

The email, whose release remains a mystery, sarcastically accused Cerrone of being unhelpful during the budget process.

The trio accused the superintendent of bullying Cerrone, which board members later said was the very tactic used by the group.

"I don't take too kindly to people coming from another district and threatening us," board member Joan Kelly said.

"We handle things in a mature and nonthreatening way. Don't come into my house and threaten me. I find that unprofessional and reprehensible."

Board Member Stephen Schunk agreed. "It was nasty for a group from outside the district to come in and attack us," he said.