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Board Cuts Longevity Raises For District 186
"I think it's extremely unfair, and I know that other administrators feel the same way I do,” said Washington Middle School principal Susan Palmer, a 22-year veteran of District 186.
Palmer is retiring but after a vote by the school board she won't see the longevity increase she was promised. “That's the rest of our lives, for all of us, but I don't have the opportunity to do anything to improve my retirement position, and time's run out,” Palmer said.
The school board voted to halt longevity increases for administrators as they grapple with an $11 million dollar deficit, a debt Palmer says won't be fixed by slashing promises. “Quite frankly you're not going to nickel and dime your way out of the mess and I think the $10,000 that it would cost the district to pay longevity for the seven administrators is not going to have any significant impact," Palmer said.
But School Board President Susan White says every bit counts. Although, she says this was a difficult decision. “I do want to reward people who are sticking with our district through thick and thin,” White said.
Administrators are supposed to get a six percent pay bump after 16 years with the district, nine percent after 19 years and 12 percent after 22 years. The percentage is based on a teacher's first-year salary, which is $34,038.
“We also have voted to not give any increases to our hourly employees, we haven't given any increases to our professional and technical staff, and so I think that this was a consistent vote," White said. White says principals were given a 1% pay hike last year but Palmer says, with increasing insurance costs, that didn't mean more money.
“When the teachers negotiated their contract it included a bump to accommodate the increase in insurance cost. Ours did not, therefore our paychecks were less money," Palmer said.