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Dozens of Bay Shore teachers get layoff notices

Several dozen Bay Shore school district teachers have received layoff notices as the district struggles to close a budget gap that could grow to $5 million next school year, an official said.

Between 35 and 40 teachers were notified, but that doesn't mean all of them will lose their jobs in June, school board president Guy Leggio said Friday.

While the layoffs could save as much as $4 million, the 5,840-student district is still trying to find other ways to balance the budget, he said.

"We're working every angle," Leggio said. "It's terrible. We're in financial difficulties like everyone else. We hit a wall, and we have to find a way to solve it."

Leggio said student enrollment has been rising as state aid has declined and teacher pension costs have skyrocketed.

The notices went out as leaders of the Bay Shore teachers union were in Washington, D.C., attending a convention.

Darlene Darch, president of the Bay Shore Classroom Teachers Association, said she knew layoffs were possible but had no idea when they'd be issued, or how many there would be.

Her union and district officials have been working toward the same goal of keeping layoffs down while bridging the budget gap, Darch said.

The teachers' union this month renegotiated its contract, which would have expired in June 2014, she said. Teachers overwhelmingly agreed to nix a 3.9 percent raise scheduled for the upcoming school year and approved a four-year deal that provides no raise next year and a 3.9 percent increase over three years, she said.

"We did that to help save jobs," Darch said.

Even so, teachers understood that was no guarantee against layoffs, she said. This year, 22 teachers have agreed to take early retirement, she said.

Acting Superintendent Edmund Frazier did not return calls Friday and Saturday.

The layoff notices were issued as the district puts final touches on next year's budget.

The school board is expected to adopt the proposed 2013-14 budget on April 24, Leggio said. A public hearing will be held May 13, followed by a final vote on May 21.

Leggio said efforts will continue to avoid layoffs through early retirement incentives.

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