Statement from Mark GiaQuinta regarding salary increases

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Press release from the Fort Wayne Community Schools:

Statement from Mark GiaQuinta regarding salary increases

Two months ago, the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees approved expanding the salary step schedule for six of the district’s top administrative positions. The change in the salary structure was to eliminate salary compression that was occurring between some principals and district-level administrators. As a School Board, we have a fiduciary responsibility to establish a fair pay grade that attracts quality people to all levels. When compression occurs, it leaves little incentive for administrators to move up the ranks into demanding positions with high levels of accountability. The Board’s action in December created a structure that would ease that compression, although no dollar figures were attached to the schedule. Since that time, I have said repeatedly that if the money was not available, administrators would not receive any raises, including the automatic raises that are given through step increases.

In the days and weeks following the action by the School Board, our financial picture for the year has become clearer. In fact, the day after the salary schedule was approved, the Governor announced he was cutting $300 million from the state education budget. That resulted in a $9.1 million annual loss to FWCS. We are now looking at cutting $15 million from our budget. I asked the administration to consider bold cuts to reach $15 million. And today, I am announcing that I will ask the School Board at its next meeting to revise administrative salary schedules so that administrators will not receive automatic step increases in July. That means the top administrators will receive no raises, a savings of $10,284 or 0.07% of the $15 million we need to cut. Certainly, this is not the boldest cut we will make. The savings by freezing all administrative salaries adds up to $260,000, or 1.7% of the $15 million.

I am asking the Superintendent, who is in negotiations with our other employee groups, to make the same proposal to all employees. Freezing teacher salaries for just one year would save the district $1.9 million. Our administrators are taking the lead in making sacrifices during this time. Next week, the School Board will meet to further discuss ways to reach $15 million. That meeting is open to the public. It will be here at Grile at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 2.

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