Controversial pay raise vote delayed in Los Banos
LOS BANOS, Calif. (KFSN) -- There was controversy in the Merced County town of Los Banos where the school board delayed a vote on a pay raise for the district's superintendent.
The school board meeting was packed with concerned residents at the Los Banos City Hall where people were standing watching what's going on. Ultimately the agenda item about the superintendent's pay raise was tabled indefinitely.
Los Banos Unified School District Superintendent Dr.Steve Tietjen asked the school board to postpone a vote to increase his pay by 3 percent every year over the next four years. Tietjen makes $160,000 a year.
The board unanimously agreed to wait.
Tietjen knew the move would become heavily publicized. "The context again that's left out is that is politicized by particularly unions that have received a raise through their annual step on a salary schedule." said Tietjen.
Several parents and teachers that flooded the council chambers Thursday night believe they were the driving force behind his change of heart. "We wonder if circumstances would have been different without teachers, staff and citizens making a concerted effort against this raise." said teacher Michael Stagnaro.
Tietjen says in his five years as superintendent he's never asked for a raise before. He says the pay raise proposal is only a ploy used to prove a point. "I don't need the money. I need to have people recognize that when they earn more money each year that is in fact a raise." added Tietjen.
But the teachers union says a shrinking state budget has already left them with so few resources to do their job effectively. They claim layoffs and furloughs have left them bare to the bone and a raise is the last thing the district needs.
Most of the parents Action News spoke with echoed those same words. "I have nothing against him. But in these hard economic times everything is being cut from programs to teachers salaries. We just don't have the money to give a raise." said Brenda King.
Several board members came to Superintendent Tietjen's defense and some of them even were ashamed of the parents and teachers and the message they brought to the meeting.
los banos, merced county, education, tommy tran
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