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PGCPS CEO under fire for massive executive cabinet pay raises

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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – Wednesday, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker received another letter from Prince George’s County Board of Education members, Edward Burroughs, Raaheela Ahmed, and David Murray, this time outlining massive raises given to six members of PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell’s executive cabinet members.

The letter points to the findings of an internal audit which found that cabinet members received raises up to a 36% r between 2013 and 2017.

“It comes as a slap in the face to every educator who consistently goes above and beyond the responsibilities of their negotiated agreement.”, said teacher, Arun Puracken.
Puracken teaches social studies to 7th and 8thgraders at Accokeek Academy and has been doing so for five years.
He called the findings demoralizing, saying, “I could go to DC right now and get paid significantly more, and again, that may be with less protections or whatever, but you’re not paying me a comparable wage to neighboring jurisdictions and we’re doing all the work.”

This, comes after a motion to give teachers a 4% raise was recently denied, which Board of Education Member, Edward Burroughs, said is only a fraction of what many educators are owed.
“Actually, most of our teachers are behind four steps… one step is three percent, so our teachers are 12-percent behind what their pay increase is.”, said Burroughs.

In an interview, County Executive Rushern Baker said that staff salaries are within the purview of Dr. Maxwell and as long as he is acting inside the confines of the law, it’s “his prerogative”.
The raises listed in the letter are as follows:
Deputy Superintendent salary increased from $175,735 in October 2013 to
$222,144 in July 2017 - a $46,409 or 26.4% pay increase;

Chief Strategic and External Affairs salary increased from $138,278 in July 2015                    to $188,058 in January 2017 - a $49,780 or 36% pay increase;

Director of Employee Performance and Evaluation salary increased from                             $101,367 in July 2015 to $137,125 in May 2017 - a $35,758 or 35.3% pay increase;

Officer for Diversity Affairs salary increased from $130,597 in January 2017 to                    $144,962 in May 2017 – a $14,365 or 11% pay increase;

Former Chief of Staff salary increased from $207,586 in July 2014 to $220,209 in                   January 2016 – a $12,623 or 6.1% pay increase;

Chief of Communications salary increased from $115,231 in January 2017 to
$141,044 in March 2017 - a $25,813 or 22.4% pay increase.

Burroughs said that while that may be true, he called it reckless on behalf of the superintendent, with some paid professionals making near poverty wages.
“We believe it’s completely unacceptable to give someone a %49,000 raise, a $46,000 raise, a $26,000 raise in such a short period of time.”, said Burroughs.

In their letter to the County Executive, the Accountability and Solutions Caucus calls for a moratorium on all executive cabinet hiring and salary increases, a reversal of Baker’s law (HB 1107), which gives Dr. Maxwell the power to hire an unlimited number of executive staff and set their salaries, investing an additional million dollars into SY 2019 for classroom and student supplies.
The caucus also seeks to work more closely with Dr. Maxwell and the Board of Education to increase teacher salaries by 4% in the 2018-2019 budget.

Puraken said that he, along with other educators, want accountability and leadership with integrity.
The next Board of Education meeting set for Thursday.

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