Sign-up for our newsletter!

Bay Shore schools, teachers OK deal avoiding layoffs

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Bay Shore school district has worked out an agreement with the teachers' association that avoids the prospect of layoffs for dozens of teachers but defers salary increases, school officials said.

Earlier this month, the school district announced the layoffs after the district and the association's governing board failed to reach an agreement on deferring salary increases. The Bay Shore Classroom Teachers Association said up to 80 educators would have been affected between the layoffs and retirements.

"While the process was longer than anticipated, the BSCTA is content with the fact that all of its members will be returning for the upcoming school year, while simultaneously providing the district with the ability to fund its budget," the teachers union said in a statement Sunday on its Facebook page.

School officials have said an agreement was necessary in case state aid is cut by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo because of the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo has talked about possible cuts of 50% and 20%. The agreements will put the district in a better position to absorb those potential cuts, according to the association statement.

Bay Shore Board of Education president Susan Gargan thanked the teachers' association for their willingness "to defer their raises to offset potential state aid cuts." 

“With the deferment, we were able to maintain all staff and will continue to provide the programs that make the Bay Shore school district great," Gargan said in a statement.

Gargan, speaking at the July 22 school board meeting, had talked about the community's close relationship with its teachers, many who live in the area, and the difficulty of making the cuts. 

"Sending those pink slips was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking — and the last resort," she said.

The district did not respond to emails asking how many teachers would have been laid off and from which schools and areas. It also did not respond to a request on how much money would have been saved by the move.

Bay Shore officials said state aid cuts of 5% or less would enable the district to meet its contractual obligations, and no salary increases would be deferred.

Negotiating teams had reached an agreement between staff and the district but the bylaws of the teachers’ association required approval from the governing board before a vote by the membership at large. The governing board had rejected the district's proposal.

In June, residents of Bay Shore and Brightwaters approved a $162,967,087 budget for the 2020-21 school year, up 2.24% from the prior school year. The district has about 5,900 students.