Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Teachers asked to give back pay raises.

I really doubt that the teachers or any school employee would take a pay cut the teachers I have met in recent years are just to greedy they also have an entitlement mentality and feel they do not have to actually be responsible for educating their students. Over the next couple years school boards in New Hampshire may be asking the same of their teachers. For the last two decades private sector employees have seen a decrease in benefits and down sizing the same does not hold true for the public education system.

I found the survey results interesting. A number of people have been told that raises would not be received in 2009 and that 401K plans would no longer be matched by employers. In turn these employees are grateful to still have jobs. Why would anyone reject a pay cut* with the expected down turn in the economy and risk losing their job.

The comments on the site are a must read as well.


*Typing correction 01/07/2009

The following piece appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fayette furlough request would have to be unanimous
If all county employees don’t agree to return raises, county wouldn’t ask it

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, January 05, 2009
Fayette County school officials insisted Tuesday that any talk of asking employees to voluntarily give back their raises is just that.

And any such plan would have to get unanimous approval from all the county’s employees, not just teachers, in a survey to soon be distributed.

In these economic times, would you be willing to return a raise to keep your employer afloat?
Yes, sacrifices are called for. 37.59% 2506
No, I'm struggling too. 62.41% 4161

Fayette: All would have to agree on raise give-backs

“In order for it to be even considered, we would have to have 100 percent of all of our employees agree on the survey,” said school spokeswoman Melinda Berry-Dreisbach. “We feel like we owe it to our employees to let them tell us. If we don’t get 100 percent, it wouldn’t be fair to look at it.”

The county’s roughly 1,800 teachers were abuzz with talk during Tuesday’s first teaching day of the new year.

Several felt blindsided by the news, but declined to be interviewed for this story.

On Monday night, school board members discussed asking teachers to give back the 2.5 percent pay raises they would receive for the second half of this school year. That giveback, members said, would help the cash-strapped school system stay solvent through the current 2008-09 school year and avoid layoffs.

The raises totaled $4 million from school coffers. The state had been scheduled to pay for half, but reneged after slashing state education budgets.

The voluntary contributions would not be retroactive to the start of the school year, Berry-Dreisbach said.

If county employees choose to donate their pending raise money, the county would recoup $2 million. Current projections estimate Fayette County schools are en route to a budget deficit of roughly $1.8 million. State law requires each school system to have a balanced budget.

In return for giving up their raises, employees would take furloughed days. No employee would pony up any cash.

The request highlights the severe difficulties facing the Fayette County school system in the wake of unexpected state budget cuts and diminished property tax revenues in a struggling economy.

“Something has to be done,” superintendent John DeCotis said at the board meeting. “It’s a matter of what has the least impact on students.”

Board members Bob Todd and Marion Key sounded confident that county employees, including the teachers, would embrace the idea of returning their raises in the interest of community.

Both board members cited the number of calls they’d received from teachers saying they’d prefer to take a small hit than to see any colleagues lose their jobs.

They also noted the Montgomery County, Md., teachers who took note of the struggling economic times and agreed in early December to forego a 5.3 percent raise promised to them.

“They did it to protect the jobs of everybody,” Todd said.

Only the money they sacrificed wasn’t expected until the 2010 fiscal year. Fayette County’s employees could be asked to take money immediately.

The gesture of the Maryland teachers allowed that state’s largest school system to balance its budget by saving $89 million, said Dan Kaufman, a spokesman for the Maryland State Teachers Association.

The Maryland teachers were represented by a union and took home some big concessions in health care benefits and other promises in exchange for their sacrifice, Kaufman said. Fayette teachers are not represented by a union.

The decision to turn to Fayette teachers and other employees followed a lengthy meeting in which the board had discussed a number of other cost-saving measures, both for the current school year and beyond.

Those options included the furloughing of some contracted employees, such as principals, starting next month and the slashing of pre-kindergarten para-pro salaries, all in the hopes of avoiding layoffs.

Other measures considered include a reduction in county contributions to employee life and long-term disability insurance plans and a possible reduction of the 180-day school year.

The board will reconvene on Jan. 27.

1 comment:

Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

Be sure to check out the follow-up article as well.

Georgia teachers shocked by Fayette plan