As Duval County School administrators brainstorm over how they will deal with a projected $112 million cut in funding, they have tossed out a number of recommendations, including:
- A hiring freeze to save $1.5 million
- Impose central management of funds and close dormant purchase orders to save $5.5 million (You would think they would already have this implemented!)
- Renegotiate contracts with employees to save $8.1 million
- Stop televised broadcasts of School Board meetings to save $315,000 (Of course, in this day of webcasts and podcasts one can only imagine why the DCSB needs to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make themselves accessible to the community. Just stick a webcam in the back of the room and put it on a webcast. Or, just tape it and stick it on YouTube. FOR FREE!)
One of the things that hasn’t been mentioned; however, has been any reduction in the salaries and benefits of Administrators. Or, for that matter, any reduction in the number of Administrative Staff. In February 2008, Ed Pratt-Dannals saw his salary bumped 73% to an annual salary of $275,000 when he took the Superintendent’s slot from Joey Wise. (Of course, the School Board also paid $275,000 to get rid of Wise. By the way…weren’t they going to try to recover some of that severance package based on a breach of contract?) In addition to Mr. Pratt-Dannals salary, 37 other Duval County School employees make in excess of $100,000 and 299 make in excess of $75,000.
The Management Team includes over 30 employees, all of whom are supported by a massive support staff at the School District’s riverfront headquarters. The land underneath that headquarters is valued by the Duval County Property Appraiser at $9.3 million.
While teachers in the classroom have born the brunt of the budget cuts, there has been no indication from Mr. Pratt-Dannals that he is willing to consider reducing his salary or cutting the salaries of some of his administrators. There has also been no serious discussion of moving out of their riverfront digs.
For now, it appears the best the district is able to come up with is asking for more sacrifices from their teachers and cutting out the publicly televised meetings of the school board.