Newton’s city council voted unanimously to increase School Committee salaries Monday, Nov. 4. The School Committee’s base salary will increase to $7,750 per year effective Jan. 1.
According to the city council president Marc Laredo, the council proposed the raises along with salary increases for themselves and the mayor, which were vetoed in September. The city council overrode her decision, increasing stipends for themselves and the mayor. A clerical issue delayed the vote to override School Committee raises.
Laredo said that while a mayoral veto is rare, and the city council does not typically override one, the council believes the raises will give Newton residents with various economic backgrounds opportunities to run for public office.
“We talk a lot about diversity in the city,” said Laredo. “It’s important that we have socio-economic diversity on the city council.”
School committee chair Ruth Goldman said she believed the raise would not affect the number of candidates willing to run.
“I don’t think this is a top priority issue for the citizens of Newton,” she said.
In the previous vote, the city council increased its stipends to $15,500 per year and the mayor’s to $155,000. These are the first raises these offices have received in 20 years, according to Laredo.
Last year, the city council passed a resolution asking the city council president to appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission to investigate public office compensation. In June, the commission recommended that the city council, mayor, and School Committee receive raises. The city council voted to enact them in September, but after the mayor’s veto, the city council brought the raises back to the table and received enough votes to override the mayor.
The raises were “modestly” greater than the commission’s recommendation according to Laredo. The mayor received a $15,000 bump, the city council’s raise increased by $1,500, and School Committee by $1,500. Laredo said the increases were due to cost of living increasing in Newton.