New York and Teachers

Reach a Tentative Pact

NEW YORK -- New York City and its 80,000 public school teachers reached a tentative agreement Monday on a contract giving school employees a 15 percent raise, said Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers. The last accord expired more than two years ago.

The raises, spread over 52 months and retroactive to June 1, 2003, will boost starting pay to $42,512 from $39,000 and increase top pay to $93,150 from $81,000, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) said at a City Hall news conference with Weingarten and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

Under the agreement, by the time the contract runs out in October 2007, teacher salaries will have increased by more than 33 percent since June 2002, Bloomberg said. The accord extends the school hour 50 minutes a week and adds two days of professional development each year. It will also bar teachers from using seniority to transfer to and from schools, giving principals more control over hiring, he said.

* JACKSON, Miss. -- Mississippi lawmakers sent Gov. Haley Barbour (R) a bill to let coastal casinos move a short distance onto land. The decision came a month after Hurricane Katrina smashed many of Mississippi's floating casinos. Barbour said the storm showed that the casinos would be safer on shore. The bill that passed the state Senate, 29 to 21, and the state House last week does not allow river casinos to move onto land.

* NEW YORK -- Thinh Q. Tran, 59, admitted sending more than $100 million to Vietnam anonymously since 1987 without adhering to laws intended to prevent money laundering, prosecutors said. Tran, a U.S. citizen and a native of Vietnam, pleaded guilty to attempted enterprise corruption and banking law violations. He operated four unlicensed money-transfer businesses in Manhattan, prosecutors said.

* NEW YORK -- The Times-Picayune newspaper, which was moved from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, announced that it will resume printing in New Orleans within two weeks and will invite all its employees back to work.

* SACRAMENTO -- California would have brought in more than enough revenue last year to erase its $6 billion deficit had Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) not overturned an increase in the cost to register a car, a state audit found. California would have taken in $6.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30 had the fee remained at 2 percent of the value of the vehicle, the Bureau of State Audits said. Schwarzenegger lowered the fee to 0.65 percent the day he took office in November 2003 to fulfill a campaign promise.

* FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Purse snatcher Luis Montanez, 22, was convicted of first-degree murder for the dragging death of Holocaust survivor Gertrude "Trudi" Nadel, 86, two years ago. Nadel was outside a Lauderdale Lakes drugstore when Montanez stopped the stolen van he was driving and asked for directions. When she approached, he grabbed her purse and tried to speed away. She was dragged several feet and died the next day.

-- From News Services