In this file photo, students take an exam at school....

In this file photo, students take an exam at school. (Aug. 14, 2008) Credit: Newsday File, 2008 / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

On the eve of Tuesday's budget votes, Bayport-Blue Point teachers have agreed to an 18-month wage freeze that would extend to February 2012.

"It's a fair deal for all parties that smartly addresses the problems we are all facing during these difficult economic times," said Bayport-Blue Point Teachers' Association president Kathy Brand in a written statement.

After February 2012, teachers would receive three contractual raises totaling 4.5 percent during the next 18 months. Bayport-Blue Point is one of nine districts islandwide that have agreed to wage freezes or other concessions as districts face losing millions in state aid and rising pension and other fixed costs.

Teachers also agreed to delay the payment of step increments for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. Superintendent Anthony J. Annunziato said the actions will save the district about $1 million. The district stands to lose about that much in state aid.

The proposed 2010-11 school district budget is $61,989,773, a 2.56 percent increase over the current budget. The proposed budget calls for a reduction, through attrition and layoffs, of 28 staff positions, including four clerical, four custodial/maintenance workers, 13 teacher assistants, three teacher aides, 1.8 teaching positions and 2.2 administrative positions.

Under the first year of the contract, teachers will not receive a contractual increase but will get their step increase, about 2.77 percent, for the year. In the second year, teachers will get a 2 percent contractual increase on Feb. 1, 2012, but not the salary step that will be postponed until the end of the year. In the third year, teachers receive 1 percent in July and another 1 percent contractual increase in February. The step increase will be delayed again until the end of the year "so the district does not have to budget for that step," said Annunziato.

Another district has also taken action to freeze wages, but for administrators. In Garden City, school administrators have agreed to a two-year contract which provides for a zero percent increase in the first year and a 2 percent increase in the second year. The board also announced that it is freezing all central office salaries including the superintendent of schools for the coming school year and all administrators who are not affiliated with the administrators' association.

Board of education president Colleen Foley stated, "The board of education remains resolute in its endeavors to negotiate in good faith and with determination with the remaining bargaining units to result in fiscally responsible outcomes."

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