In a show of shared sacrifice, the Toledo Public Schools’ superintendent and treasurer voluntarily cut their pay Tuesday night, and new contracts approved by the Board of Education for district cabinet members and the administrators’ union also included reduced salaries.
The board cut the pay of Superintendent Jerome Pecko and Treasurer Dan Romano by 4 percent for the next two years, salary concessions both men volunteered. At the same meeting, the board imposed 2.5 percent salary reductions for six cabinet members and ratified a new two-year contract with the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel with identical financial concessions. All cuts are in addition to 1 percent pay reductions previously imposed.
“Thank you very much for showing the leadership you are showing and taking the cuts you are taking,” board president Bob Vasquez told district leaders. “This is just a really good example that all of you … are setting for the district.”
Mr. Pecko’s annual salary is $175,000, and Mr. Romano’s is $125,000; Mr. Romano also receives $10,000 annually in longevity pay, according to district spokesman Patricia Mazur. Mr. Pecko acknowledged that although the pay-cut percentage he and the treasurer accepted is larger than other employees’, the move is in many ways a token gesture because they make more.
“The reduction we are taking is relatively minor than what employees in are district our taking,” he said. “We understand these are difficult times.”
Mr. Pecko and other top administrative members of the cabinet, which includes Mr. Romano, are not represented by a union. All eight also agreed to increased medical-insurance costs identical to those accepted by teachers, and none will receive automatic longevity pay raises the next two years.
The cuts accepted by the six cabinet members mirror those accepted by TAAP, which in turn are identical to those agreed to last month by the district’s teachers’ union.
TAAP represents principals, counselors, and other nonteaching professionals. Last week, union members ratified a tentative agreement with the district that continues a 1 percent pay cut, reduces pay an additional 2.5 percent, freezes automatic longevity pay raises, increases the share administrators pay for medical insurance, and eliminates 34 positions. The Board of Education voted 4-0 Tuesday night to accept that agreement; board member Jack Ford, who was released Monday from the hospital after an extended stay, was absent.
The new TAAP agreement gives the superintendent more flexibility in hiring and placing employees.
The district has only one union without a contract. Talks with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are ongoing, Mr. Pecko said.
AFSCME represents bus drivers, food-service workers, secretaries, skilled-trades employees, and custodians. Its contract expired June 30; employees will work under the old pact until a new one is signed. The district is seeking financial concessions from the union similar to those it got from TAAP and the teachers’ union.
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