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The pandemic and the governmental response to it have caused serious damage to our economy. Many people are hurting economically. Unemployment is at an all time high in the United States. Many that are still working have been forced to take cuts in hours and/or pay. Many business owners and farmers are taking huge losses in earnings or are losing their businesses entirely. As a result, tax revenues in Nebraska and in the United States will be reduced drastically.
There are some great examples of public servants near the top of the pay scale who have sacrificed to do their part due to the uncertain future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The School Board from South Central Nebraska Unified School District #5 has voted unanimously to forgo scheduled salary increases for administrative staff. Spread between five positions the reductions in the budget totals $29,232. A 1% percent increase in health insurance benefits has been approved. It took courage by both the school board and the staff to accomplish this agreement. The taxpayers appreciate your sacrifice!
Then there are school districts in the state where voters need to hold school boards and administrators more accountable. An example is the Omaha metro area. Westside Community Schools board recently voted to raise the base pay of the Superintendent by 2.5% or $5,750 to $235,750 per year.. The contract also includes a performance bonus of $5,000 and a retention bonus of $5,000 that could be included if he stays with the district through June 1st, 2021. Papillion-LaVista Community Schools proposed a 1% salary increase which equates to $2,373 for a total of $239,675. Bellevue Public Schools board approved a 3.6% salary increase of $8,364 for a total of $240,044.
The Omaha Public School board recently considered an extension of their Superintendents contract through 2023 in which the base salary of $300,000 would not change but she would be allowed to convert unused vacation days into cash. When this position was open just a few years ago there were 74 applications for the job. Apparently the pay was not a limiting factor in drawing in applicants. In rural areas it is hard to attract a pool of applicants for administrative candidates, even with a generous salary.
Another idea of where there could be potential for sacrifice because of the loss of taxpayer revenue would be the administration of our University. The University and President Carter are doing a good job during this challenging time. However, President Carter is paid a compensation package estimated at $1.2 Million annually. This makes him one of the highest paid University Presidents in the nation. Other administrative salaries can’t be far behind. We all need to sacrifice during these difficult times.
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