‘Fair and Reasonable’ Settlement Helps District Respond to Financial Challenges   

The Board of Education of the Locust Valley CSD and the Locust Valley School Employees Association (LVSEA) have approved a new four-year contract to replace the agreement that expired at the end of June 2010. The new contract will be in force through June 30, 2014, and retroactively includes the 2010-11 school year.

“We are all aware of the financial challenges and uncertainties that school districts and taxpayers continue to face, so I want to thank our teaching professionals for working with us to craft an agreement both parties believe is fair and reasonable,” said Mr. Jack Dolce, President of the Board of Education. “In the end, we have settled upon an agreement that helps the district respond in a better way to the challenges of decreasing revenues, new legislation limiting the tax levy increases, and ongoing taxpayer concerns over the level of school taxes.”

During the life of the four-year agreement, top paid teachers will average an annual base salary increase of less than 1%. Specifically, there is no increase in the salary schedule (base compensation) in the first two years of the agreement, which includes last year (2010-11), and the current school year. The increases in the salary schedule for 2012-13 and 2013-14 average slightly less than 2% in each year. Teachers who were employed in 2010-11 and this year will receive a one-time lump sum $2,000 payment in December 2011, which will not be a part of the salary schedule and therefore, will not be a recurring expense.

Many teachers are also compensated through movement on the salary schedule due to longevity (steps/increment) and credits earned from approved institutions of learning (lanes). In 2011-12 the agreement specifies no movement on this schedule. Additionally, caps and other limitations on increments and lanes specific to movement on the schedule in subsequent years will produce cost savings to the district over prior contracts.

“The teacher members of the LVSEA were happy to collaborate with the district in this agreement,” said Gaby Harrington, President of the LVSEA. “It provides fair compensation and at the same time, realizes cost-saving concessions that we hope will help to preserve the quality of the instructional programs in the district.”

Additional savings will be realized through an increase in health insurance premiums paid by teaching staff, which will rise from 16% to 18% by the end of the contract, and a freeze on coaching salaries and activity sponsorships. The agreement also includes a retirement incentive for 2011-12 that will not go into effect unless at least 10 retirees notify the district by December that they will retire. This, too, would create additional savings for the district.

The contract also contains language that encourages re-visitation of its terms and conditions if financial circumstances warrant this action. “We believe this is a fundamentally sound agreement, but we are mindful of ongoing financial challenges that should continue to promote good dialogue in the interest of our students and taxpayers,” said Mr. Dolce.