North Kitsap school superintendents agree to pay cut

POULSBO – North Kitsap School District Superintendent Rick Jones announced Thursday that he and assistant superintendents Chris Willits and Shawn Woodward will each take a two percent pay cut next year.

Jones said the cut, which amounts to a savings of about $8,000 for the district, is meant to model the idea that everyone in the district will need to sacrifice in the coming years to deal with tightening budgets.

“It’s clear to me that the future is going to be challenging conversations with all of our employees about what we’re going to do, how we’re going to solve this problem,” Jones said. “We can’t keep cutting like we’ve been cutting. So I believe that one of the ways for us to deal with the challenge is to give back something.”

The district is in the process of finalizing a 2010-11 operating budget in which it had to close a $700,000 gap between income and spending. While the superintendents’ pay cut will only make up a small portion of that, Jones said they are setting an example for the rest of the district’s employees.

“I also believe that conversation (about sacrifice) is difficult for people, so we need to model that,” he said.

School board members Val Torrens, Dan Weedin and Kathleen Dassel commended the superintendents on their decision at Thursday’s school board meeting. Board member Ed Strickland did not agree with the pay cuts.

“I don’t think that precedent should be set,” he said.

Strickland believes there are better ways of managing the district’s spending aside from making constant cuts.

“We can either continue to cut like we are, down to the bone, or we can figure out a better way to do things,” Strickland said.

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