As the Parkway School Board prepares to vote on a proposed package of $3.3-4.1 million in budget cuts at a meeting tonight, one of the items that is not on the table is pay freezes for the district’s top-paid employees.
Parkway previously faced questions about giving raises to employees, particularly administrators, after making nearly $8 million in cuts last year, but Superintendent Keith Marty defend the district’s position and said there are several problems with such a move.
First, he noted that it’s a question of fairness. In Parkway’s case, the district’s unionized employees are under contracts until June 2014 that include pay increases.
“Should administrators, for example, be frozen while teachers are going to get a pay increase?” Marty said. “The route we have taken in the last two years is that we have cut administrative positions, and that’s actually more sustainable.”
The latest budget proposal does include the elimination of 18 administrative positions next year, most of them through attrition. Marty estimated that it will save $1.2-1.4 million, compared to the approximately $280,000 that would be accomplished through a freeze.
The loss of those positions also means that the administrators and support personnel who remain behind will be shouldering additional duties.
“Is it fair to say that not only are you going to take on more responsibilities and, by the way, your pay is being frozen?” he said.
Marty added that he is speaking from personal experience. At a previous district, he actually did propose freezing administrative pay, something the school board was only too happy to do. It only creates problems further down the road, Mary said, when districts must try and play catch-up.
“You have administrators and others who aren’t happy because now their comparable neighbor in a different school district is getting more,” he said. “Then people really get upset because they ask, ‘Why are you raising someone’s salary five percent?’ Well, it’s because they had a freeze for two years.”
Still, the numbers can create a little bit of a sticker shock. According to a Fox2 report last summer, Marty received a $7,000 raise this year, bringing his total salary to $227,000.
The board will vote on the package of cuts at their regular meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Central Middle School, located at 455 N. Woods Mill Road.
Do you think it's appriopriate for the district to hand out raises for employees amid budget cuts? What do you think of Parkway Superintendent Keith Marty's reasoning? Tell us in the comments section below.