Approximately 80 teachers within the Bay Shore School District were laid off on July 2, according to a statement made by the Bay Shore Classroom Teachers’ Association.
Many of the layoffs are primarily teachers within the music and arts departments, advanced placement courses, physical education department, as well as guidance counselors and social workers.
This announcement from the district came after the 2020-21 school budget passed, 2,782 votes to 1,411 on June 17.
In the statement, the teachers union said there had been ongoing negotiations between the association and the school district regarding the economic uncertainly of state funding for public schools during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Story continues after Facebook post.
Back in April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced potential mid-year state aid cuts, which according to district officials would be anywhere between 20-50% of the school’s 2020-2021 state aid package of more than $50 million.
According to district officials, this means if the school receives the state aid proposed by Cuomo in April — which is the amount used to develop the budget.
There is a likelihood that this will not happen, leaving Bay Shore Schools’ funding cut up to $10 million or more. The district said on Facebook if this happened, they would be forced to cut programs mid-semester.
State-aid makes up 29% of the district’s budget, the district said.
The 2020-21 proposed budget grand total is $162,967,087, which is a $3,569,025 increase from the current year budget.
State aid for the current year is $47,326,133, while the projected 2020-2021 state aid revenue is $46,852,193. This is approximately a $473,940 decrease.
The full proposal is available here.
District officials confirmed in a recent public statement that on June 18, formal negotiations commenced after the BSCTA requested financial information.
“With one year remaining in its contract, the BSCTA was asked by the District to consider taking a ‘hard freeze’ for the 2020-2021 school year,” the statement from the BSCTA said. “Throughout June, the BSCTA carefully listened to administration, surveyed our members, crafted solutions to the economic uncertainty we face.”
The BSCTA stated they requested “several pieces of financial data from the District” in order to put together and validate their proposal. The group said it took “weeks” to receive this information.
After a couple of weeks of going back and forth with exchanging subsequent proposals and negotiations with the District, the BSCTA received a “Last and Final” proposal from the district, which closed the negotiation process.
The BSCTA governing board reviewed the proposal and did not find it substantial to present and be passed by the general membership of the association.
After rejecting the offer, the district notified a significant percentage of teachers of the district they would “not have secured employment for the upcoming school year.”
In their public statement made on July 5, Bay Shore District officials addressed concerns and questions outpouring from the community.
The district spoke about why a majority of the layoffs were of arts and music teachers, and their answer was that these positions are “non-mandated.”
A petition is circulating to bring awareness to the significant number of layoffs of teachers in the district.
Bay Shore School District declined to comment on the situation, but on July 6, the District and BSCTA released a joint statement to the Bay Shore Brightwaters Community about meeting to discuss contract negotiations.
The statement, signed by Bay Shore School’s Superintendent Joseph Bond and Mike Krieger, BSCTA president, is as follows:
Check back with GreaterBayShore for more on this developing story.
Top: Bay Shore High School from the school district’s Facebook page