At a District 208 school board meeting last week Superintendent Kevin Skinkis announced that all administrators at Riverside-Brookfield High School will have their pay frozen next year and that number of teachers next year would be reduced by more than 10 percent.

“The administration will be taking a pay freeze at their current rate of pay, which will save the district about $15,000,” Skinkis said.

The anticipated savings from the salary freeze for administrators are based on projected administrative raises of 2.5 percent. The pay freeze will affect Skinkis, Principal Pamela Bylsma, Assistant Principal John Passarella, Dean of Students David Sibley and Director of Special Education Gayle Brankin. All are earning more than $114,000 this year.

Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction Tim Scanlon will be retiring in June. No decision has yet been on if he’ll be replaced.

None of the administrators had raises specified in their contracts. Administrators received modest raises this year, and some in community complained about the school board handing out raises when it was facing a large budget deficit.

The administrative pay freeze appears to be a step taken, in part, to put pressure on the Riverside Brookfield Education Association (RBEA) to also agree to some type of pay freeze or modification of its contract. The leadership of the RBEA, which represents teachers, teacher’s aides, and most clerical staff at RB, has been meeting with three school board members discussing possible modifications of the last year of its five-year contract with the district, which expires on June 30, 2013.

“The teachers are projected to get a pay increase of about $500,000,” Skinkis said, “secretaries, $43,000; teacher aides, $16,000; stipends, $24,000. All those are part of the collective bargaining agreement, so we need to account for that in our deficit. So we also announced that after our first round of staffing [review], we will be reducing by 10 to 11 teachers for sure, and at the next meeting, the committee of the whole will begin to discuss what extracurricular opportunities will be possibly reduced next year.”

Since three teachers are retiring in June, seven to eight other teachers will need to be laid off, Skinkis said.

The cuts in the faculty, which would amount to a little more than 10 percent of the teaching staff, would save the district close to $1 million, Skinkis said. That would cut the projected deficit next year by about two-thirds.

“That would knock the deficit down to about $600,000, and then we would have to try to figure out from there how we’re going to get the other $600,000,” Skinkis said.

Without making cuts, District 208’s projected operating deficit would be about $1.6 million next year, Skinkis said.

Notices to teachers facing layoffs will be sent out after the school board approves the reduction-in-force notices next month.

Participants in the talks with the RBEA would not comment publicly about the negotiations.

“The conversations are still continuing between the RBEA and the school board,” said RBEA President David Monti in an email. “I am not at liberty to speak about any of the discussions that have transpired.”

School board Vice President John Keen said that he is happy about the pay freeze for administrators and is hopeful that the RBEA will make some concessions.

“Considering that staff salaries are a huge part of our budget, I’d hope that they’d be willing to contribute,” Keen said.

“Every stakeholder is going to have to share in the solution to our financial difficulties.”

Skinkis said that he is working to balance the budget without assuming that the RBEA contract will be modified.

“We have to go forward thinking that the contract’s in place,” Skinkis said. “We’re still talking with the teachers union, so I can’t really talk about that, but what I’m trying to present to the board is all the other solutions of how we could try and balance the budget with or without contract concessions.”