Barresi’s proposal drew criticism from lawmakers and educators who said it would require school districts to raid their carryover funds to cover an annual expense.
Sen. Susan Paddack said she believes that teachers deserve raises, and she supports the idea of increasing their pay. But she said Barresi’s proposal is not the right way to achieve that goal.
“There are (school) districts in my district that don’t have enough money in their carryovers to do that kind of raise,” said the Ada Democrat, who serves on the Senate Education Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. “And furthermore, it’s not a sustainable model.”
Paddack said that carryover funds are a one-time source of money, which vary from school district to school district.
Ada City Schools Superintendent Pat Harrison also said he agreed with Barresi that teachers deserve a raise, but he disliked her recommendation of tapping carryover funds to fund the increases.
“Her idea to pay for the increase from carryover funds is poor fiscal management, especially in our current climate of declining funds,” he wrote in an email to an Ada News reporter. “To pay a recurring expense like salaries from a one-time revenue source is a really bad idea, in my opinion. Salaries go on year after year; when you spend your savings, they are gone for good.”
Latta Superintendent Cliff Johnson said he also supports the idea of giving teachers a pay raise, but Barresi’s plan is the wrong approach. He said the plan would require school districts to dedicate part of their annual carryover funds to salary increases.
“That $2,000 is going to have to be paid year after year after year,” he said.