By TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON — Salary cuts for officials and other employees of Trenton Public Schools are among the latest in a series of steps aimed at reducing the district’s looming budget deficits.
Supt. John Savel’s contract was renewed by the Board of Education last month at a 5 percent reduction. He’ll make $130,654 for the current school year, but that will drop to $124,121 starting in 2010-11 school year begins and remain at that level for the next three years with no raises written into the agreement.
While among the most visible reductions, Savel was quick to point out Wednesday that he’s far from the only one giving up compensation to help balance budgets. “I think’s important to note that it’s not just me that did this,” he said. “Everybody took the lead.”
The 5 percent cut also applies to all administrative staff, which includes school principals and assistant principals, the director of human resources, the business manager, the directors of curriculum and facilities, all supervisory staff and all clerical staff, none of which are unionized. The Trenton Educational Support Personnel union, which includes custodians, bus drivers and food service workers, accepted a 5 percent reduction this year and a 3 percent for next year.
Paraprofessionals, represented by the Trenton Paraprofessionals and Associated Staff Association MEA/NEA, recently agreed to a 2 percent cut salary cut in its new two-year contract.
The concessions are expected to save the district about $250,000. Those contracts will become effective July 1. Another savings of about $30,000 is anticipated anybody currently eligible for health care coverage who changes preferred provider organization status. People who wanted to stay with the more expensive plan now will have to pay for it. Additionally, Savel said officials still are working on concessions from teachers, who are represented by the Trenton Education Association/MEA.
“It’s very gratifying knowing we have employees that understand the financial situation for the district and were willing to make concessions that we know were very hard,” Savel said.
More ways to reduce the current year’s $1.6 million deficit will be on the Board of Education’s agenda for its meeting tomorrow night.