TONIGHT: School Budget Meeting Will Review Teacher Salaries and Benefits

Written By: Robert Cox


Budget cut increased from $3.65mm (-1.56) to $5.0 mm (-1.80) resulting in 35 lay-offs due to news last week of additional cuts in NYS funding. This is in addition to 25 retirements filed, 10-15 more expected plus not filling 10-12 civil service positions.

Korostoff and Massimo going back and forth, line by line through budget starting on page 38.

Tonight is the night when the bulk of school district spending is reviewed. Areas of the budget to covered are salaries and benefits and pensions for Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Pupil Services, Medical, Guidance and Special Education.

Costs related to staff account for about 70% of the total budget.

I would encourage residents to take a good long look at this chart to get an understanding of the disconnect between the proposed budget and the budget adjusted for home values.


As mentioned at the February 11th Budget Input session, it took the district 5 years to get into this mess, it is going to take 5 years to get out of it. Here are some ideas on how that can begin to happen.

Preliminary Budget Book

Superintendent’s Budget Message

Budget Process Calender

2 thoughts on “TONIGHT: School Budget Meeting Will Review Teacher Salaries and Benefits”

  1. Any idea what the enrollment numbers are?
    Is the district increasing or decreasing in size? My understanding is that its Decreasing which should bode well for staff reductions.

    Here’s another novel idea, how about we entirely do away with OT and replace it with comp. time/days off? And maybe we could spread this idea to the entire city work force. I bet that would cut costs significantly. This would be a use it or loss it time with NO financial compensation doled out to the employee.

    1. Enrollment for New Rochelle K-12
      The information you seek is in the first section of the budget document linked above.

      K-12 enrollment in NR 2010-11.jpg

      While I appreciate your enthusiasm, making statements about the budget without actually reading the budget document, even the summary document, does not accomplish any sort of real change.

      The enrollment numbers are increasing so if the idea was less students means a lower budget that is not correct. The budget is decreasing (they announced last night the cut will be $5mm from last year or -1.98%).

      They are planning on laying off 35 teachers, not filling 10-12 civil service positions and not replacing retirees which are 25 so far with another 10-15 expected before June. By my count they are expecting headcount in the fall to be about 80-90 people less than the amount they had at the beginning of the current school year.

      Overtime is in the F.U.S.E. contract (and also within the City’s contracts with Police, Fire and DPW) so, under the Taylor Law, the district cannot simply change the OT policy to give people time off instead of cash. They are required to negotiate in good faith which would mean they would have to give something else in order to get that.

      The District or City CAN reduce headcount without negotiating. The Taylor Law has no say in that but as a practical matter it is the threat of layoffs that leads to more “productive” negotiations. Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak made it very clear last night to one resident that the district believes the union has already made concessions because they agreed to what he calls a “pay freeze” under the current 2 year contract.

      The use of the term “pay freeze” with regard to the contract is a lot like how the district loves to use the term “Annual Yearly Progress” instead of the correct term “Adequate Yearly Progress”.

      AYP is a term that merely indicates that a school or a district is not considered “failing”; less than 5% of school districts in New York do not make AYP so “making AYP” is simply the state’s way of saying “you don’t totally suck”. In New Rochelle, however, the board members and administrators ALWAYS use the made-up term “Annual Yearly Progress” because that makes it sounds like New Rochelle won some award. In fact, they talk about it just as if it was an award. It is just more propaganda from the district.

      The supposed “pay freeze” is actually a deferred pay increase. The contract Is for two years and contains two pay increases Of 2%. They are both deferred by six months so the actual value of the pay increases is less than that during the term of the contract. I continue to maintain the position I took when the contract was announced, that given past contracts this is not a bad contract for the taxpayer. What I object to is misrepresenting what is going on with teacher pay which is what most people focus on when they look at the budget.

      The deferred pay increase is the “across the board” increase. What the district never mentions is that the contract also contains “step” provisions under which teachers get an additional “step up” in their salary every three years. These step ups can be quite large. We do not know what they are in the current contract because the union has not made the contract public and refused to publish it online.

      As a side note, when asked about putting the contract online by union members last year, Marty Daly, the head of FUSE, expressed his concern that Talk of the Sound would then link to the online contract.

      NOTE: if any union member cares to provide a copy of the contract to Talk of the Sound we will make arrangements to scan it and publish it here for the community to review (email us at newrochelletalk AT me DOT com or call 914-500-8386)

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