Tim Burke is back at it, trying to save Farmington School District taxpayers from rising costs associated with budget shortfalls. Yesterday he suggested, with backing by a similar suggestion made by Governor Tim Pawlenty, that all Farmington School District administrators making over $80,000 a year should agree to a voluntary pay and benefits freeze for the next two years:
A resolution calling on ISD 192 administrators to voluntarily agree
to a salary and benefits freeze for the 2009-2010 contract year.
Whereas, ISD 192 is planning for no increase in state funding for district operations in the 2009-2011 biennium; and
Whereas, the district finance director estimates that the district will need to use more than $400,000 dollars of its General Fund Reserve in the second year of the next biennium; and
Whereas, the district is yet to negotiate contracts with several employee bargaining units that will affect the next two budget years; and
Whereas, the administrators of several Minnesota school districts have already agreed to forego salary and benefits increases or accept reduced salaries in the coming budget year; and
Whereas, the Governor of Minnesota, speaking in Farmington on March 9, 2009, called on public employees to accept frozen wages and benefits for the next two years; and
Whereas, the Farmington School District has the highest school property tax rates in the area; and
Whereas, the Farmington School Board has recently voted to raise property taxes still further to fund ongoing obligations to retired and future retired school district employees; and
Whereas, such a voluntary action as is urged by this resolution would be a demonstration on the part of the affected employees of their understanding of the difficult financial circumstances faced by many in our school district and by the district itself; and
Whereas, the Farmington School Board has agreed to freeze its own salary for 2009; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that School Board of ISD 192 urges and calls upon its administrative employees who are not represented by a bargaining unit and who will earn more than $80,000 per annum in base salary for the contract year that began in 2008 and ends in 2009, including, but not limited to, the superintendent, assistant superintendents and directors, to voluntarily agree to
1. Forego any base salary increase for their contract year that begins in 2009; and
2. Forego any increase in benefits increases for their contract year that begins in 2009; and
3. Forego the initiation of any new benefits for their contract year that begins in 2009.
There have been plenty of examples of other Minnesota school districts doing the same thing including recent news that Bloomington’s school district administrators agreed to save the district $15,000 by accepting a salary freeze, Moorhead’s school district is hoping to save some money by considering a soft-freeze, a salary freeze has been recommended in District 112–although they do have some unique issues themselves which have brought them to that point.
While I understand people’s frustrations in not wanting a pay freeze for any employee, especially when times are tough and taxes are higher, I think it’s at least something employees funded by public dollars should consider.
Do you think that the relatively small savings that come about because of admin salary freezes are worth it? Should administrators be willing to voluntarily take a salary freeze while their citizenry may be taking pay cuts or even be without jobs? Go ahead and comment on, I’d love to hear what you think.