Monday, April 27, 2009

School board seeks voluntary wage freezes

One of the few sectors the recession has not impacted is public education, where school districts continue to spend at twice the rate of inflation and teachers continue to receive generous pay raises.

One Chester County school district is trying to address skyrocketing expenses by asking its administrators, including principals, to forgo pay increases.

Owen J. Roberts School Board President Edward Kerner has asked all school district administrative employees to voluntarily freeze their salaries for the 2009-10 school year, reports The Pottstown Mercury.

From an article by Laura Catalano:
"We are all aware of the difficult economic environment that has developed over the past year. All reports indicated that the recession is not abating and is the worst since the Great Depression," Kerner said, reading from his statement. He further noted that many district taxpayers have suffered job losses and wage freezes, while others "have seen their retirement nest eggs suddenly shrink."

He pointed out that the board has been working to "reduce spending so our taxpayers can afford to remain in their homes."
Owen J. Roberts School District Superintendent Myra Forrest has already requested that her salary be frozen at its present level of $164,807 for the 2009-10 school year.

The school board does not have the authority to impose a wage freeze because school administrators are covered under something called Act 93 in Pennsylvania, which means that the board can only ask for a voluntary freeze.

Forrest said 47 of the 50 administrators in the OJR school district fall under Act 93.

The proposed wage freeze, which was initiated by district taxpayers who presented the school board with a petition, is supported by The Mercury in an editorial.

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