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School Board begins 2010 with pay cut -- to itself

Red Wing School Board members on Monday voted for the first time since 1994 to alter their salaries.

They voted for a 20 percent pay reduction.

"I think we should make a statement and reduce our salaries," said School Board member Perry Sekus, who authored the motion.

The vote dropped the chairperson's salary to $1,382. Other members will receive $836 annually.

School Board member Dennis Porter said salaries for south-suburban school board members range from $4,000 to $6,500.

Though the proposal received unanimous support, board members raised some concerns. School Board member Stephen O'Keefe said he worries the shrunken salaries might deter some people from running for office.

"I worry that we are excluding potential board candidates by setting the salary that low," he said.

Sekus agreed, but said it was important to send the message that School Board members were willing to live with less amid a strained economy. He encouraged raising the salary back to its 2009 amount once the economy rebounds.