Fresno Unified trustees agree to 1% pay cut

Fresno Unified trustees voted Wednesday to take a pay cut equal to the roughly 1% that employees will lose due to furlough days next school year.

Trustees now receive an annual stipend of $18,000. They voted to reduce their pay by 1.08%, or $194.

But not everyone agreed over the pay-cut amount.

Trustee Janet Ryan suggested that the board accept the same pay reduction as employees "not only now but into the future."

But trustee Carol Mills said she thought the board needed to do more and proposed a 5% cut. "Rather than just follow what we are asking our employees to do, we need to stand up and lead," she said.

Mills' motion failed when four of the seven trustees -- Ryan, Michelle Asadoorian, Tony Vang and Valerie Davis -- voted against it. Mills, along with trustees Larry Moore and Cal Johnson, voted in favor.

The board eventually agreed on the smaller pay cut, with only trustee Johnson voting against it.

Next school year, employees will be asked to take at least two or three furlough days, depending on their job classification -- equivalent to a 1.08% pay cut.

The furloughs are part of the district's attempt to cut about $35 million from a roughly $990 million annual budget.

The district will also increase some class sizes, eliminating about 200 of approximately 4,000 teaching positions. Across-the-board pay cuts have not been ruled out.

Permanent teachers likely will not lose jobs, and most cuts would occur through attrition and retirements. But some nonpermanent teachers likely will lose their jobs.

Greg Gadams, president of the Fresno Teachers Association, called the trustee pay cuts largely symbolic. "I would also like them to cut their travel and other expenses," he said.

Cutting a stipend is far different than cutting someone's salary, Gadams said, noting that many of the board members have outside employment.