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Long Beach superintendent takes voluntary pay cut

January 27, 2009 |  3:16 pm

As the Long Beach school district braces for $70 million in new cuts because of the state’s budget crisis, Supt. Christopher J. Steinhauser announced he will take a voluntary 10% pay cut for the next two years.

Emphasizing that he does not expect district employees to join him, Steinhauser said he was inspired to take the nearly $50,000 total pay cut by President Barack Obama’s comments after the election and at the inauguration.

“He said in order for us to get through this crisis, every single person is going to have to chip in and be part of it,” Steinhauser said.

The 88,000-student district, like most in California, has weathered years of funding reductions by the state, trimming about $90 million in spending over the last four years. The estimated additional cuts will occur this year and next year.

Steinhauser, who announced his decision at the end of a Monday school board meeting about district finances, earns $237,000 annually. The money will be redirected to struggling district employees and their families, Steinhauser said.

“What we have to do is remind ourselves that we’re a family,” he said, before the audience gave him a standing ovation.

-- Seema Mehta