In response to Ruth Robarts’ recent letter, stripped of its satire, she is suggesting that paying Madison’s school staff less would eliminate the budget gap. Her proposal is that school staff should receive a package of 2.35 percent for salary and benefits combined. There are three major problems with her proposal:
- This would impose a pay cut on almost all employees, with the deepest cuts affecting the lowest paid staff (educational assistants and food service workers)
- A 2.35 percent package would save the district about $4.6 millionthere would still be a budget gap of at least $4 million.
- State law makes such an approach impossible. The qualified economic offer law essentially requires that districts offer at least a 3.8 percent annual increase for salary and benefits combined.
Be wary of last minute proposals that sound good and promise to solve the problem without painful cuts. As a community we need to face the fact that the budget gap we face is real; it is a direct consequence of the state laws and funding decisions that affect all Wisconsin school districts.
/Carol Carstensen, Madison School Board /