Board OKs salary freeze for Sandwich schools employees
By Pat Wallis For The Beacon-News March 21, 2013 12:46PM
Updated: April 23, 2013 2:08PM
SANDWICH — Sacrifices — including salary freezes — will be made by nearly all the employees of the Sandwich School District in the 2013-2014 term, according to Superintendent Rick Schmitt.
At this week’s Sandwich School Board meeting, Schmitt said he “wanted to thank everyone involved for sacrificing in order to preserve the best educational opportunities possible for our students.”
“Like many school districts throughout our state, we are facing a perfect storm of reduced state funding, declining property values and local tax revenue, a decreasing student population and increased mandated education programing.”
These conditions, he said, prompted the School Board and administration to enter into discussions with the Sandwich Classroom Teachers Association and the Sandwich Education Employees association to consider the salary freeze and other cost savings reductions within the fiscal year 2014 operating budget.
Doni Morgan, co-president of the Teachers Association, said the teachers’ goal was to do what was best for students.
The Sandwich Education Employees represents secretaries, teaching assistants, custodians and transportation employees.
“We, too, recognize the importance of maintaining a quality education along with the services we provide,” said Randy Wig of the Education Employees. “We realize the district has been doing all they can to keep our district operating during such difficult financial times. After meeting with our members, we accepted a pay freeze for the 2013-2014 school year.”
Board President Steve Skorup said, “The board has done a good job of operating on lean budgets over the years ... however we have implemented budgets using reserves to weather the storm and can no longer do that.”
Other cuts in supplies, textbooks, summer cleaning, secretaries, guidance, tutoring and other services will reduce the budget by over $520,000; and the pay freezes are expected to save more than $427,000, a total just under $1 million.
“We put the kids first. Hopefully there will be brighter days,” Skorup said.
Schmitt said the state owes the Sandwich district $735,567, mostly for education and transportation funds.