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William Floyd officials peg pay to revenue

William Floyd Schools superintendent Paul Casciano with associates,

William Floyd Schools superintendent Paul Casciano with associates, CAS president and Athletic Director Mark Mensch and BOE president Robert Vecchio outside William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach. (May 10, 2012) Credit: J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

More than two dozen administrators at the William Floyd School District have agreed to tie their raises to revenue, forgoing set increases.

State and local education officials said this is the first they've heard of such an arrangement; the new agreement goes into effect July 1.

Superintendent Paul Casciano, who initiated the change when he volunteered for the plan months ago, said he wanted his raise to resemble a model that one might find in the private sector.

"I feel like it is the right thing to do," he said.

He was scheduled for a 3 percent annual bump for the duration of his contract, set to expire in June 2014. The other administrators' raises were set at 3.5 percent. Their contracts were up June 2013 but have been extended three years.

The school board already has accepted the changes for both Casciano and the others, including principals, assistant principals and districtwide coordinators.

Yet another group of employees -- including assistant superintendents, the director of special education and a federal grant coordinator -- have also agreed to the new standard. The school board is expected to approve the request for these eight employees at its next meeting.

They would have seen a 3 percent annual increase.

According to the agreement, participants will see no raise if the district's revenue dips or stays the same from one year to the next. If revenue grows, their salaries will increase by the same percentage, up to a maximum of 2 percent.

Administrators will still get longevity payments: $3,000 at 5 years, $6,000 at 10 years, $9,000 at 15 years and $12,000 at 20 years. The superintendent, whose salary is about $200,000, does not get longevity bonuses.

Robert Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Council of Superintendents, said he was unaware of a similar plan at any other district, though school chiefs' salaries have recently leveled off.

"We aren't aware of other contracts with such an explicit linkage, but would say that it reflects what actually happens in practice in most districts now," he said. "Very few superintendent contracts provide for scheduled future increases."

Alan B. Groveman, head of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, doesn't know how many school chiefs are making concessions, though many boards are looking closely at contracts as they wrestle with the new tax cap. "In a number of cases, it's been happening quietly," he said.

Groveman, also superintendent of the Connetquot district, agreed to a zero percent raise two years ago and his district's administrators agreed to forgo a raise for the next school year. William Floyd's method seems unusual, he said. "That is a very new approach to contracts and raises," he said. "In the past, many district have had contracts tied to the cost of living."

Herb R. Brown, president of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents, called the plan "creative" and "futuristic," adding that the only way the tax cap will work is if raises are within its limits.

Casciano, who has spent his entire career at William Floyd, said the old system of guaranteed increases doesn't make sense going forward and if a district's expenditures don't match its revenues, it is "making promises it can't keep."

William Floyd's board was enthusiastic about his proposal. The agreement means it won't have to negotiate with him year to year. "Now those conversations don't have to take place," said board president Robert Vecchio.

The administrators' concessions -- including that of the superintendent -- will save the district roughly $50,000 a year.

William Floyd has nine bargaining units. The largest is the teachers union, which has 639 members. Their contract expires in June.


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