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Brentwood Teachers Agree to Pay Schedule Freeze

The agreement prevents district layoffs, said Superintendent Dr. Charles Penberthy.

Teachers in the Brentwood School District have agreed to collectively forgo scheduled pay increases in the 2011-12 school year to prevent any layoffs or cutbacks to their colleagues.

The district usually follows a specific method when determining pay for teachers and support staff. For teachers, their pay increases with each additional year of experience. They also receive more pay depending if they have a bachelor's, master's or master's with 30 additional credit hours.

The continuing decline of assessed values of Brentwood homes has caused a drop in district revenue. The agreement—which saves the district $231,710—allows the school district to stay out of the red in the 2011-12 school year, Superintendent Dr. Charles Penberthy said.

"Money is still tight, but this has allowed us to present a balanced budget," he said.

After accounting for escalating costs like utilities and insurance, district administrators used the rest of its projected budget to pay for salaries.

And while teachers' pay levels remain frozen, each level will see a 1 percent increase in pay. The increase helps to account for rising retirement costs, which teachers pay, Penberthy said. They would normally see a 3 percent raise by jumping to the next pay level, he said. 

A teacher with a bachelor's degree and five years experience made $43,682 in 2010-11. Instead of earning the scheduled $45,867 for an additional year of experience in 2011-12, the teacher would make $44,337 with the freeze.

"This way, no one gets a lot of money, but everyone gets a little bit," Penberthy said.

Teachers will still accumulate an extra year of experience when it comes to tenure and retirement.

Support staffers—like custodians, school secretaries or teachers aides—aren't affected by the pay schedule freeze. Their scheduled pay increases will remain and each level will see a 1.5 percent increase in pay, but most of the support staff has reached the top of the pay schedule, Penberthy said.

A committee comprised of Penberthy, another district administrator, two Brentwood Board of Education members and six teachers negotiated the staff pay. The Brentwood Board of Education approved the pay schedule freeze at a meeting last Tuesday.

The district employs 95 teachers and 60 support staff.

CLARIFICATION: This article's headline has been adjusted to more accurately reflect the definition of the pay agreement.

Doug Wamser May 24, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Ryan, this story reads as if Penberthy led you around by the nose. The teachers did NOT accept a pay freeze. They agreed to a one percent raise. And what about the administrators? Did they get a raise as well?
Ryan Martin May 29, 2011 at 03:13 AM
After discussing your concerns with my editor, we agreed that the headline didn't accurately reflect the pay arrangement. A clarification has been added. Thank you for reading.
Doug Wamser May 29, 2011 at 04:31 AM
What a pathetic response. Instead of putting the correct and obvious headline on the story, "Brentwood Teachers Agree to 1 Percent Pay Raise," you chose a "clarification" designed to appease the school distric. Any news organization worth its salt looks out for the public and holds the government sector's feet to the fire. Instead, the Patch has decided to do the opposite. You know why this is a critical point with me, Ryan, because during the election for school board, I pointed out numerous times on your site that for many consecutive years, every tenured teacher in the Brentwood School District has received a pay raise every year, regardless of the economy or their performance. (By the way, the average pay for a Brentwood School District teacher is now $66,000. With that in mind, why did Brentwood School District Superintendent Charles Penberthy feed you the line about how much a teacher making $45,000 will fare in light of the approved raise, since there so few Brentwood teachers at that lowly scale? Answer: He played you like a fiddle.) Now, thanks to your incorrect headline, anyone who reads the Patch will think that the school district's streak of consecutive pay raises for teachers has been broken, and that they have taken a pay freeze. And you persist in repeating this ridiculous statement: "And while teachers' pay levels remain frozen, each level will see a 1 percent increase in pay." Since when does an increase in pay equal a frozen pay level. How absurd.
Jim Davis July 06, 2011 at 04:20 AM
Penberthy makes $295.50 per student, per year. Compare that with other school district superintendents like Francis Howell and Fort Zumwalt who have 18,000 plus students and make the same or less than Mr. Penberthy. I guess my question is, if we are paying considerably more per student than some of the largest school districts in the state of our administrative costs, shouldn't we also be near the top in terms of student performance? If not, why are we paying so much? Why doesn't the Patch look into this.
Josh July 09, 2011 at 05:49 AM
Doug, The difference between pay, pay schedule, and pay level is kind of confusing, but there is a difference. The article explains that teachers will not be able to move to the next pay level (as they normally would, according to the pay schedule), thus they are "frozen" at their current pay level and will not be able to advance to the next level. However, within the pay level where they are frozen, there will be a 1% increase in pay. Normally, the teacher would advance to the next pay level, which increases their pay by 3%, but the pay schedule has been frozen. So a frozen pay level and a frozen pay schedule does not equal frozen pay. The terminology used in the article is confusing, but the headline is accurate. Something similar is also happening with the current "pay freeze" for federal workers (mandated by President Obama and Congress). If you do some research, you will see that federal workers are still eligible for certain increases in pay during this "pay freeze".

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