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Garden City teachers agree on salary cut

An undated file photo of a school bus

An undated file photo of a school bus on Long Island. Credit: Newsday

Garden City schools and the Garden City Teachers Association agreed to reopen negotiations and have reached a new settlement, which includes both a delay and a decrease in salary, school officials announced.

The settlement, reached last week, will save the district $675,000 in its 2012-13 budget, school officials said.

Superintendent Robert Feirsen said Friday that the proposed 2012-13 budget adopted by the board preserves all programs.

"The reopening and renegotiation of terms for the last year of the existing contract, combined with a four-year extension, provides significant savings for the district each year," school board president Colleen Foley said in a statement posted on the district's website.

District officials said if the existing contract had remained in place through June 2013, teachers would have received a 1.25 percent salary increase next year, as well as a guaranteed move along the salary schedule known as a step increase for experience this September. Teachers also would have received the rest of a step increase delayed from 2011-12.

The new terms for the 2012-13 school year include a 1 percent annual increase and a delay in a step increase until April 2013. The teachers' contract expires in June 2013.

"This was not an ongoing negotiation," Feirsen said. "This was a negotiation initiated by both parties in recognition of the fiscal difficulties of the school district."

The new settlement reduces the proposed 2012-13 budget to $104,215,528, an increase of $3,098,470, or 3.06 percent. The tax levy rise has been reduced to 3.54 percent.

The new budget figure reduced the district's maximum allowable tax-levy limit under the state's new legislation from 4.3 percent to 4.2 percent.

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