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Jarvis rejects raise

Post by Melissa Santos / The Olympian on June 26, 2009 at 10:14 am with No Comments »
June 26, 2009 10:14 am

(The following entry is also posted on TNT’s Political Buzz blog).

Tacoma schools Superintendent Art Jarvis didn’t give the Tacoma School Board a chance to offer him a raise Thursday night.

Just days after board members gave him a positive performance evaluation, Jarvis made it clear he wasn’t interested in a salary increase.

The one-year superintendent, who previously served a year as interim Tacoma school chief, is one of several public officials who have turned down raises during the economic recession.

Jarvis noted at the start of this week’s school board meeting that Tacoma principals had forgone salary increases earlier in the year out of concern for the district’s tight budget. He said he’d like to do the same.

"It would be in all fairness to the other employees that have agreed to help us out," Jarvis said. "I would not like to violate that."

Board members completed their evaluation of Jarvis’ first year Tuesday, noting he met or exceeded expectations in all areas and excelled at budgetary matters.

They subsequently reviewed his contract at Thursday’s board meeting, choosing to extend his contract for one year through 2012, but not give him a raise. His base salary will remain at $240,000.

Jarvis, 65, said the district is making budget cuts wherever possible to avoid laying off staff. School districts throughout the state have turned to staff reductions to cope with state budget cuts.

Unlike some other South Sound school districts, Tacoma did not have to issue layoff notices to certified teaching staff this year, but Jarvis said the district has been cutting back in other areas.

"We’re all struggling," Jarvis said. "Ultimately the goal is to save as much as possible."

Board President Kim Golding said she thought it was appropriate that Jarvis not receive a raise this year given the district’s budget. The board didn’t propose a raise for him because he’d privately said in advance that he didn’t want one, she said.

"I think it was nice we were able to extend his contract, because that means something to him," Golding said.

Many head honchos of municipal and other public agencies have turned down salary increases in recent months, citing financial concerns during a bad economy.

Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson turned down a 14.5 percent raise in March. City managers in Puyallup and Lakewood also turned down salary increases this year.

University of Washington President Mark Emmert declined a raise in November, just months before the university announced it would be cutting 600 to 800 staff positions. Washington State University

President Elson Floyd went a step further, reducing his salary by $100,000 in advance of staff and program cuts.

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