Keokuk School Board Freezes Wages

Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk School Board has implemented a wage freeze for about 20 administrators, directors, and central office staff members for the 2010-2011 school year. Superintendent Lora Wolff says dropping the anticipated pay raises should save the district about $40,000.

Dr. Wolff says this is just the first step as declining enrollments have the district facing a shortfall of more than $1-million.

"We are going to use part of our unspent balance to buy down some of that figure," says Wolff, "and then our goal will be to try to trim $900,000 off of next year's anticipated costs."

Wolff hopes to have a list of potential cuts to the Keokuk School Board by early March. She says the cuts could be made in April.

Wolff says district employees have provided more than 400 ideas for saving money. She says those ideas are being reviewed to see if they are feasible.

Wolff says 83% of the district's budget goes towards salaries and benefits.

The wage freeze for administrators is in line with the Keokuk School District's contract offer to the Keokuk Education Association.

The district wants to freeze the base salary for teachers at $30,025 and base salaries on the amount of state aid received. It also wants to make some changes to the health insurance program.

By contrast, members of the Keokuk Education Association are looking for a 2% boost in the base pay for teachers.

Negotiations are ongoing at this time.