MOSES LAKE - Moses Lake school board President Elliot Goodrich suggested during Thursday’s meeting a pay cut for all district staff as the district focuses on online learning during the school closure.
“I know that this will be controversial but I want to say it anyway is I have a bit of a problem, not a bit, I have a real problem with the fact that we’ve got millions of people in this country that are losing their job. We have probably millions of business owners that have had to shut their doors and don’t know how they’re going to pay their rent or meet their obligations,” Goodrich said. “We’re in a financial calamity, the likes of which nobody quite understands yet and is not defined. And I find it to be troublesome, and I say this as somebody whose wife is a teacher, that our entire staff continues to be paid and employed at the same level they were when things were going normally.”
The district moved to online learning after Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all schools to close until at least April 24 due to COVID-19. All district employees continue to be paid during the closure.
“I want to re-emphasize that while work looks different, there are still a lot of people working very hard,” Superintendent Josh Meek stated. “Work looks differently today than it did two weeks ago.”
Remainder of Goodrich’s statement:
“I find it a bit, I guess, morally repugnant that the public sector seems to be insulated from the pain that is being put on the private sector in an event like this where everybody’s suffering out there in the private sector.
I know there’s nothing that I can do about it at the moment. This isn't something I say lightly or expect us to take action on at the moment but in light of the situation and the circumstances and the suffering that is going on in our community and our state and our country, as well as the forthcoming cuts to expenditures and budgets that will have to happen as a result of what’s going on right now in the next couple fiscal years, I think we should consider doing a reduction in pay across the board for all of our staff. My suggestion would be maybe 20 percent, so in other words, one day of pay a week.
And I know people are not putting in the same hours that they were before. Yes, we’re teaching online. Yes, we’re providing meals and doing some things, but it is fundamentally not the same situation as when we have 8,600 kids inside our buildings all day long.
I guess what I’m saying is that I know how people are suffering out here in the private sector and I think it’s only fair our public sector also give a little bit to do their part to help.”
School board member Bryce McPartland, and Goodrich agreed, that the district would likely need to reach out to the state Legislature, and deal with collective bargaining agreement, to address any pay cuts.
“I do notice within even my own friend groups, you know, that people who have sort of a guaranteed income check week-to-week or month-to-month have a different feeling about what their responsibilities are in terms of hunkering down and quarantining versus those people who either have already lost their job or have certainly been concerned about it,” McPartland said.