PITTSBURGH – Penn Hills school Superintendent Nancy Hines had a dire message for the district’s teacher’s union in January.

“The labor contract with the teachers expires next year, and we will be asking them to consider a pay freeze because of our financial situation,” Hines told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Hines was responding to the district’s ugly financial situation, which resulted into a district attorney’s investigation of possible criminal abuse of funds.

“The investigation began after an audit released in May showed the district had a deficit that topped $18.8 million,” the Post-Gazette report said. “The audit covered the period of July 2012 through June 2015.”

The news report said that the state auditor “cited a ‘total breakdown’ in oversight and management and called the audit findings the worst of his tenure. The DA’s office is determining whether criminal charges should be filed.”

So the teachers will be asked to forsake raises to help right the ship, according to the superintendent. Teachers union officials probably trembled with anger at that news, but the reality is that Penn Hills teachers should be more than fine, even if there is a pay freeze.

In 2015-16, 317 Penn Hills teachers made a combined $20,303,890 in base salary, for an average of $64,050 per teacher. They also received $3,954,091 in benefits, for an average of $11,075 per teacher.

It’s clear from the Post-Gazette article that Penn Hills teachers are receive retirement contributions from the district. EAGnews requested that amount for 2015-16, but received no response.

Even without that total, we know that the average teacher compensation, with salary and benefits combined, was at least $75,125 in 2015-16.

Penn Hills teachers work 190 days per year, so the average compensation breaks down to about $395 per day. Assuming the teachers work eight hours a day, that breaks down to about $49 per hour.

While it may be reasonable for Hines to ask the teachers to take a pay freeze, it only seems fair that she should set an example and do the same.

In 2015-16, Hines was paid $140,045 in base salary and received $13,810 in benefits.

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