POTTSTOWN — Recognizing the difficulties presented by a tight economy and dwindling tax base, the four top administrators for the Pottstown School District have volunteered to give up next year's merit raises.
They will still receive step raises that comes automatically with another year with the district.
Superintendent David Krem, Assistant Superintendent Reed Lindley, Director of Education Jeff Sparagana and business Manager Linda Adams — known collectively as the 'executive team" — will collectively save taxpayers $24,408 as a result of their decision, said John Armato, the district's director of community relations.
The 4 percent merit raises were earned as a result of meeting goals set last year and assessed through the Total Rewards Program the district has adopted to evaluate administrative performance.
The announcement, made Tuesday at a joint meeting of the school board's finance and personnel committees, follows a public suggestion by Finance Committee Chairman Edwin Edwards that the board consider seeking concessions from the administration as well as a hiring freeze.
The administrative team had already discussed the possibility of suggestions Edwards was informed after his suggestion was made.
"The joint committee received the news well and views it as a positive step in the direction of reducing overall costs to the district," Armato said.
The administrators, Armato said, "quite simply recognize that the Pottstown School District, in terms of its economic situation and its tax base continues to burden the property owners and this was a gesture to help reduce overall costs."
Those reductions break down as follows:
Krem was paid $158,250 this year. By giving up a $6,330 merit raise and accepting a $2,374 step increase, he will be paid $160,624 next year.
Lindley was paid $151,943 this year. By giving up a $6,078 merit raise and accepting a $2,279 step increase, his salary will rise to $154,222 next year.
Sparagana was paid $139,770 this year. By giving up a $5,592 merit raise and accepting a $2,096 step increase, his salary will increase to $141,866 next year.
Adams was paid $124,490 this year. By giving up a $4,980 merit increase and accepting a $1,867 step increase, her salary will be $126,357 next year.
"Our community is under a great deal of economic stress and this, in some small way, helps alleviate that and sets an example within the community we all serve," Armato said.
The draft budget to be presented at the May 21 school board meeting noted that in the last four years, the administrative salary budget line has increased by more than $680,000.