One down, five more to go.
Friday, the school administrators union voted to accept a wage freeze, forgoing their contractually obligated raises. The move saves the town $35,222.
“I firmly believe, in these times, it was the right thing to do,” said Pat Fedor, Great Neck Elementary School principal and president of the administrators union.
The administrators union is comprised of all five school principals, the assistant principals at Clark Lane Middle School and Waterford High School, the director of special services and the dean of students at Waterford High. Overall, the group totals about $1.26 million in salary.
The raises for the administrators average raises were 4 percent, according to Assitant Superintendent Craig Powers. All administrators rejected their step increases as well.
The vote tally to accept the wage freeze was kept private.
The median salary for Waterford principals is $125,460.
Superintendent Jerome Belair and former superintendent Randall Collins have both asked all six district unions for a , to balance the budget. If the unions do not agree to wage freezes, up to twenty teachers could be laid off, Collins said.
By agreeing to the freeze, the administrators union saves a relatively small amount of money in the overall budget. Still, it is important because it “sends the right message” to the teachers union, Fedor said.
If the teachers forgo their 4.3 percent salary increase (which includes step increases), it will save the town $898,45, according to town documents. If they don’t, many teachers and programs will have to be cut, Collins said.
“We have a good relationship with our teachers, and they look at us for guidance in other situations,” Fedor said. “I think this sends the right message to them.”
The teachers union met on Thursday, but did not vote on the wage freeze yet, Powers said.
Just because the school administrators accepted the wage freeze, does not mean that the teachers will accept the wage freeze, Fedor said. But it certainly helps, she said.
“We can only hope that they accept the freeze, and people don’t lose their jobs,” she said. “I would hate to see anybody lose a job over this.”