Friday, 29 April 2011 00:00
At the open meeting of the Birchwood Civic Association on Tuesday, April 12, the BCA Education Committee introduced Jericho Superintendent of Schools Henry Grishman, board of education president Barbara Krieger, board of education vice president Joe Lorintz, and trustee Shawn Gladstone to overview and respond to questions about the district’s proposed budget. Members of the BCA Education Committee had previously attended the district’s budget workshops, public meetings where the budget was analyzed line by line. Grishman indicated that the district took seriously the community’s input and had therefore developed a very tight budget, while preserving student programs. Total district expenditures in 2011/12 will be 2.79 percent above the 201/11 budget, resulting in a tax levy increase of 2.94 percent.
This reflects a loss of state aid of approximately $1,000,000 and the use of approximately $4,000,000 in reserves and appropriated fund balance. Three administrators are retiring; one position will be eliminated, one will be replaced by a lower level employee, and one will be filled only part-time in the coming year. Central office administrators, directors, and supervisors and management confidential secretaries will receive no raises in the coming year. Curriculum associates, principals, and assistant principals will receive only step increases. On the day after the BCA meeting, an agreement was struck with the Jericho Teachers Association.
The teachers agreed to give up the 3.5 percent raise that was in their previously negotiated contract for next year, in return for a three-year contract extension providing for the following: zero percent in 2011/12, 1.9 percent in 2012/13, zero percent in 2013/14, and 1.9 percent in 2014/15; they will continue to receive contractual step increases averaging 1.5 percent per year. The $1.2 million savings from eliminating the 3.5 percent salary increase will partially offset the reserves and fund balance that were appropriated to hold the tax levy at 2.94 percent.
BCA members peppered the superintendent and school board members with questions and thanked them for the transparency with which the budget was developed and for their willingness to meet with community groups. Afterward, the BCA voted to endorse the Jericho School District budget wholeheartedly, through supportive emails and newspaper articles. A summary of the final budget as adopted by the board of education and presentations from the series of budget workshops are available at http://jerichoschools.org/finance/Budget1112/index.htm.