"The request for us to take a wage freeze is premature in the sense that [Superintendent Johns] doesn't have exact figures yet from state aid," said Miller, acknowledging that Cuomo's budget proposal is only pending. The state legislature must determine the state budget by an April 1 deadline.
Miller, in conjunction with ULFA's officers, concluded that the concessions made in the current collective bargaining agreement do not justify a wage freeze. These concessions include a reduced pay raise for the 2011-2012 school year of 2.1 percent, as well as cost-saving changes to health and retirement plans. The current agreement between ULFA and the District Office will expire at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
"I don't think there was any guarantee one way or the other that our taking a wage freeze would guarantee that that [the district] wouldn't have to cut positions," said Miller.
Superintendent Johns and the Liverpool Board of Education must now determine alternative measures to eliminate the districts budget deficit. Property tax increases for the residents of Liverpool will be considered along with job cuts. Superintendent Johns will make his budget recommendations public on Feb. 28
"Eighty percent of our budget is heartbeats," said Superintendent Johns, "so we're not going to find millions and millions of dollars by cutting back our paper clip supply."
Joseph Raite is a contributing writer at Eagle Newspapers.