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Letter: Step increases aren't a savings

A stock image of a pile of money.

A stock image of a pile of money. Photo Credit: iStock

I challenge the belief that step pay increases are a form of deferred income and a savings for the school districts ["Step increases ease financial burden," Letters, Oct. 2]. It is neither earned income nor an expense to the school district until you have performed the services.

Step increases are a defined contractual future raise in salary based on length of service. I suspect that two letter writers -- the president of the Lawrence Teachers Association and the other a retired Miller Place teacher -- are simply echoing a union entitlement mantra that attempts to minimize the annual growth in teachers' salaries in the public's mind.

Labor agreements for teachers basically consist of three major components: 1) a salary percentage increase, which is applied to salary and step levels; 2) step increase levels, which are based on length of service; 3) a column shift, which is an increase in salary based on education credits earned.

Many teachers unions are working without contracts. I suspect they're waiting for the economic environment that doesn't include a 1.66 percent tax levy cap so they can push through more favorable terms with the school board. Why are they able to do this? Because of the protection of the Triborough Amendment and the guaranteed raises it allows, they don't necessarily have to negotiate now.

Christopher D. Reilly, Coram

Editor's note: The writer ran unsuccessfully for the Longwood school board in 2012.

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