The Finance Committee meeting will continue the budget discussion tonight, Monday, April 11 at 7:30 PM at Conestoga High School.
Following up on the Budget Workshop meeting held last month, the Finance Committee will continue to discuss various cost-cutting measures. Two new strategies introduced at the Budget Workshop will have further discussion tonight. The school board is suggesting a one-year salary freeze for the instructional and non-instructional union members. The school directors view the salary freeze as a form of shared sacrifice to show support for the district’s students. It is estimated that the pay waiver would net a cost savings to the school district of approximately $3 million.
The other new cost-saving suggestion that surfaced at the Budget Workshop was new to me . . . the option to demote or reduce full-time status of teachers for economic reasons. We learned from Dr. Waters that under Pennsylvania School Code that this action was permissible and apparently an option that more school districts are looking at as a strategy to maintain programming while providing a cost savings. I am looking forward to further discussion on this strategy at the Finance Committee. It is my understanding that the Superintendent is the one who ultimately makes the decision on where this demotion would take place in the school district.
I know that representatives from the local teachers union, Tredyffrin Easttown Education Association (TEEA) attend school board meetings. I would encourage and welcome public comment from TEEA at tonight’s meeting. Some of the cost-cutting strategies discussed at the Budget Workshop, and that will be further discussed at the Finance Committee, speak directly to the teachers union. I think that the time has come for the teachers union to be drawn into the discussion – I know that I would like to hear a public statement from a union representative.