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Superintendent Explains Controversial Pay Raise, Proposes Additional Cuts

Another $166,000 in cuts was proposed at last night's school board meeting.

Nazareth schools superintendent Victor Lesky wanted to make at least one thing clear at last night’s school board meeting: All employees -- about 500 individuals -- were asked to take a zero percent increase for the coming school year.

Lesky had stated  that about 22 administrators offered to lower their pay raises to 1.7 percent from 3.75 percent.  It was noted last night that there are 27 administrators in the district. 

After a resident, who refused to re-state his name for Patch, pointed out an opinion piece from the Express-Times website, Lesky corrected his statement from the previous meeting.

“Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in what I said at the last meeting,” Lesky said. “The administrators were the only ones who offered to come in at zero. Yes, they’re willing to accept [a] 1.7 percent [raise], but they’re also willing to accept zero percent, but only if others are willing to go along with them.”

The Nazareth Area Education Association and the Nazareth Area Educational Support Personnel Association has either offered Lesky no response, or responses the board did not deem credible, Lesky said at the April 11 meeting.

“I receive a salary that I do think is significant enough for what I do,” Lesky continued. “I got a zero percent increase last year and I’m intending to take a zero percent increase next year. And I’m OK with that.”

Lesky added that although the district must make hard cuts, it must be done in a “fiscally responsible” manner.

“If we don’t keep the education up, then there will be nobody moving here and there will be nobody here to purchase the services of the individuals,” he said.  “… Three districts are recommended when businesses move into the valley … you’ve got to be very careful, because you can cut, cut, cut, but the revenue will dry up and so will the people moving here and the people supporting our businesses.”

In other business, Lesky and Bernadine Rishcoff, the board secretary, outlined more cuts at last night’s meeting.

Those cuts include:

  • School Security Measures -- Four high school monitor positions will be cut and one middle school monitor’s hours will be cut to three hours, saving the district $100,000.
  • Reducing two additional custodial staff members by attrition, which would save the district $120,000.
  • Eliminating the Central Duplicating Center, which would save the district $54,000.  All teachers would have to do their own duplicating, or copying. 

On April 1, the district also received a revenue increase of $281,456 due to a combination of a real estate increase and a decrease in appeal loss, and from a collection increase and Edujobs dollars from 2010-2011.

The final budget will be presented at the May 16 meeting and will be voted on at the May 23 meeting.

Chris Miller April 26, 2011 at 07:02 PM
Carl. I believe we could leave the money in the rainy day fund and have the money from the freeze to pay down bills. It is a tricky manuver but one that might be necessary
Carl Strye April 26, 2011 at 09:31 PM
It was drizzling when they started to hire a couple more administrators, then it started raining administrators, now we have a flood of administrators. Don't you think the rainy day fund is saturated? We need to plug the dam, not go the "easy" way out with the teachers.
Wayne Schissler April 27, 2011 at 03:50 AM
Carl, you're absolutely right about honoring contracts. I don't blame unions and the rank and file for trying to get the best deal they can. And when they do I say, "Good for them". Being envious of somebody else's pay is kinda lame in my book. So it's the negotiators, administrators, and board that didn't account for rising pension costs or bad financial times. But... If this was a corporation and the economy took a turn for the worse the people who run it would be faced with shutdowns, drastic layoffs, or cutting corners. A way to minimize that is to go to the workers and lay it out on the table - take cuts or this place may fold. That is what has happened all around us. I know union workers in the district that have not had raises in two years and are grateful just to be working. There's a lot of people that haven't had raises in a while. Just blaming the management for the problem doesn't save the jobs. People making due on last years wage levels does. With a school you can't shut down. Cutting corners can only go so far. You could lay off teachers and cut departments but at every turn somebody will protest. A wage freeze, just like the sort we see in the private sector would go a long way to saving departments and maintaining programs. But just like the private sector, the contract just can't be violated, it'll take people willing to sacrifice for the good of everyone.
Wayne Schissler April 27, 2011 at 03:52 AM
When the Driver Ed instructor gave his impassioned plea to save the course Director Crook in his response was sympathetic but he pointed out that nobody has come out, nobody stepped up to the plate, referring to the request for a wage freeze. Instead of helping, instead of doing what they can to keep disruptions in the school system at a minimum they are just lying low waiting for this to blow over. I'll gladly have them prove me wrong. One more thing. I found out at the last meeting that they are at the beginning of a 4 year contract and I hear that it was negotiated over a year ago. This seems very odd to me. While the economy was going to pot all around us, while everybody else is just getting by, this occurs? I don't fully understand the dynamic behind the negotiations, who's involved, who's not... but at that very same time the decrease in future education funding was obvious . http://ccnasd.org/where-did-the-money-go/
Chris Miller April 27, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Wayne I believe they actually negotiated the contract in 2009, 2 year ago.

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