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IT Superintendent: 3.9 Percent Tax Levy Increase With 2010/11 Budget

If Employees Forgo Raises,

All 20 Positions on the Chopping Block Would Be Saved

Island Trees School District Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy recently presented a proposed 2010/11 budget to the Board of Education that calls for a tax levy increase of 3.9 percent.

“Although we are still in the budget deliberation process, we hope to have a 3.9 percent tax levy budget and a budget-to-budget increase of 1.9 percent,” Murphy told the Levittown Tribune in an email. “This would result in 20 staff members being excessed, [teachers and counselors from the teachers’ bargaining unit.]”

Murphy explained that he approached Island Trees teachers, CSEA clerical, CSEA custodial/maintenance and Island Trees administrators, before the March 22 meeting, telling them that he would not take the 3 percent raise he is due and hoped they would do the same.

 “In response, the administrators due a 4 percent raise told me before the board meeting that they have decided to take a hard zero percent; no step or contractual increase, and our CSEA custodial unit made the same decision,” the superintendent said.

This move by the superintendent, the other administrators and custodians would save two jobs, Murphy said.

He also said that he presented the same offer to the district’s teachers; if the teachers forgo the 3.5 percent raise they are entitled to, they will save all of the jobs the budget calls to excess. Murphy is waiting to hear what the teachers plan to do.

The rollover budget, with scheduled raises and only minimal cuts, would have required a tax levy increase of 9.25 percent. Murphy and board of education members made it clear early on in discussions that budget would not be feasible.

“We’re going to have to make some reductions,” Murphy said. “ But if everyone forgoes their raises, the whole district would be able to save all the positions, everyone would be under full employment.”

The Island Trees Board of Education is expected to adopt a budget on April 7, Murphy said.