Principals, top administrators agree to compensation reduction to offset reduction in state funding

8/27/2011 | TACOMA, Washington

Members of the Tacoma Principals Association have voted to reduce their compensation by 1.39 percent for the upcoming school year to absorb cuts made to their compensation by the state Legislature earlier this year, TPA president Dan Tharp announced today.

In addition, top administrators in Tacoma Public Schools – Superintendent Art Jarvis and members of his executive leadership team – also will have their compensation reduced by 1.39 percent for the 2011-2012 school year as prescribed by the Legislature, Jarvis announced.

In both cases, the cuts will come from each employee’s personal professional development account.

For the 86 principals and assistant principals represented by the TPA, the average reduction equals approximately $1,500 per year. For the superintendent and executive leadership team, the average reduction equals about $1,650.

The TPA and district now have to put their agreement into a formal memorandum of understanding as part of the collective bargaining agreement.

“Our members clearly recognize that this worldwide recession has taken its toll on our state, our community and our school district,” said Tharp, principal at Whittier Elementary School and leader of the TPA. “Since the Legislature cut the state’s allocation for education compensation, we believe the right thing to do in these economic times is to accept the reduction. The membership felt it was important that we contributed to protecting cuts to district programs and jobs that effect student achievement.”

o determine the total amount of the reduction for principals, requires an understanding of how the State of Washington funds compensation for educators. The state provides 46 percent of the annual compensation for Tacoma principals and assistant principals. Local funds make up the other 54 percent. So, when the Legislature voted to cut 3 percent of its allocation for principals, that reduction affects only the state’s 46-percent share, which equals a 1.39 percent reduction in compensation.

Similarly, when the Legislature cut its allocation for teacher salaries by 1.9 percent, in Tacoma Public Schools the average reduction in compensation for a teacher would equal 1.35 percent – or about $860 a year. The state provides 71 percent of the annual compensation for Tacoma teachers, while local funds make up the other 29 percent.

“In our continuing efforts to deal with the difficult situation the state has placed us in, I am gratified that we have reached agreement with our principals to address the state budget cuts,” Superintendent Jarvis said. “I and my executive leadership team feel the same way as our principals. We can’t shift the problem to other parts of the system, nor can we ask one employee group to bear the burden while others do not.

“We will be addressing the state cuts with all our employee groups, as is currently occurring with our certificated teachers and classified staff represented by the Tacoma Education Association,” he said.