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Buffalo News


Freeze Pay For Teachers To Save Jobs, Programs

March 23, 2010

By E. J. McMahon

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt has given local residents a clear-eyed and realistic assessment of the fiscal crunch facing school districts throughout the region and the state. As noted in The Buffalo News article, “Schools eye closings, layoffs, tax hikes,” on March 13, the State Legislature is in no position to ride to the rescue with a bailout. Cuts are, indeed, inevitable.

So what can districts do to minimize the pain? To his credit, Hoyt points out that a pay freeze for teachers “absolutely has to be part of the discussion.” This would save the jobs of many school employees and protect some programs that now face elimination. Moreover, in the wake of a severe recession that has boosted unemployment while flattening both inflation and wage increases for private- sector workers, it would only be fair.

This is a severe fiscal crisis that will get worse if decisive action is not taken to rein in spending. The Legislature should be ready to impose a freeze if unions are unwilling to make the kind of voluntary givebacks Hoyt suggests.

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