Salary Cuts "Scaring People Away" From Public Service Jobs

Earlier this week, incoming Los Angeles Schools Superintendent John Deasy revealed that he will voluntarily forego $55,000 of his $330,000 annual salary in order to show solidarity with the teachers and other school employees he'll soon fire due to budget shortfalls.

It's one thing for Deasy to take a 16% salary hit - he's still left with a whopping $275,000 annual salary.

But what about public employees who don't receive six figure salaries?
 
Right now, nurses, trash collectors, teachers, road pavers, sewer workers and just about everyone else who keeps our communities running are facing salary reductions, benefits cuts, furloughs and other hits to their economic well being. A 16% salary cut to someone who is making, say, $33,000 annually could mean having to choose between buying groceries and keeping the lights on.

This doesn't just hurt working families. It also hurts our communities, because it makes public sector work much less financially attractive to qualified job applicants, which guts the workforce of top talent.
 
Tim-Burke_Web_80x80px.jpg"They're scaring people away from the public sector," says Tim Burke, who works for the City of Hemet and who has seen many of his co-workers struggle with furlough pay cuts this year. "Now people are going to look at public service and question whether they want to get into it."
 
An article in today's Los Angeles Times about the declining numbers of people training to become school teachers confirms what Burke is saying. "It's kind of difficult to encourage people to become teachers" when they keep hearing about layoffs and severe cutbacks, says Dale Janssen, executive director of the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

As for Burke, he says that someday he'll retire from public service, and he's very concerned that the next generation won't be there to take his place.
 
READ: L.A. Unified superintendent: New L.A. schools chief to take lower pay
 
READ: Today's teacher layoffs threaten tomorrow's college classrooms

Leave a comment