The Levittown school district has issued layoff notices to 108 teachers -- the largest number of local educators facing potential job losses on Long Island this year.
District and union officials said Monday that negotiations were under way, and that some jobs might be saved through concessions.
Without concessions, teachers with seniority who retain their jobs would gain an average 5.75 percent increase in pay next year, including annual "step" increases built into their pay schedule.
The prospect of lost jobs for less senior teachers -- coupled with larger classes and cuts in elective courses -- has upset many local parents. Some Monday blamed the teacher union's leadership, saying its reluctance to agree to givebacks was putting younger teachers' livelihoods at risk.
Colleen Napoli, a Levittown mother of five, said she personally knew two elementary teachers, both with 10 years' classroom experience, who recently got pink slips.
"These are our neighbors who are now facing the unemployment line, and it's heartbreaking," Napoli said.
"Nobody wants to make a concession," said another parent, Marie Pustorino. "But the taxpayers cannot continue to take these tax hikes."
Therese Rogers, president of the Levittown United Teachers union, said her organization had been in contract talks with the school board since March 29. The union represents 862 teachers and teaching assistants. "We're trying to work something out," said Rogers, who declined to provide further details.
Last week, Levittown voters approved the district's $197.9-million budget for next year, 2,967 to 2,414. The plan raises spending 2.63 percent and taxes 3.43 percent. Islandwide, 119 budgets passed and only five failed.
A Newsday survey earlier this month found that districts across the region plan to slash more than 2,000 jobs for the 2011-12 school year, including 1,200-plus teachers. The highest numbers reported were in Brentwood, with 89, and Central Islip, with 86. To help preserve jobs, teachers' unions in 20 districts recently have agreed to partial or total pay freezes for at least a year.
The Newsday survey questionnaire completed by Levittown did not mention any planned layoffs there. And some anonymous callers identifying themselves as Levittown parents have told Newsday over the past week that the number of planned layoffs caught them by surprise.
However, the district's superintendent, Herman Sirois, said Monday that he had consistently told residents the system faced at least 35 layoffs and possibly more. Sirois added that planned staff reductions also included seven to eight administrative slots and about 20 nonprofessional positions.
"Nobody wants to make these cuts," Sirois said. He added that economies had been forced on the district by a $3.5-million cut in next year's state and federal operating aid.
Despite cutbacks in other areas, Levittown will expand kindergarten classes to full-day sessions next year. But local officials say the move will not cost the district extra money -- at least, immediately -- because it will gain special state "conversion" aid to cover initial costs of expansion.
Levittown's budget brochure says elementary class sizes generally will increase next year -- for example, from 22 students to 23 in grades K-2 and from 25 students to 26 in grades 6-8. A program for "gifted" students will be cut, along with any high-school elective courses, including Advanced Placement classes, that attract fewer than 17 students.