12/26/2012 01:34 pm ET

State Sen. Mark Hutchison Proposes Nevada Lawmakers Turn Over Salary To Help Fund Schools

One Nevada Republican wants his fellow lawmakers to give up part of their pay in the name of public education.

Freshman state Sen. Mark Hutchison tells the Las Vegas Sun that he intends to draft a bill calling for members of the state legislature to give up the equivalent of about $150 per day in salary to fund the state's public schools.

While Hutchison says the proposal "sends the right signal to the public," state Senate Majority Leader Moises Denis, a Democrat, called it a "gimmick." He says lawmakers should instead be taking the time to devise real solutions to increasing public school funding, the Sun reports.

While it's rare for lawmakers to propose a cut to their own salaries -- even to boost school funding -- elected officials in California are taking a 5 percent pay cut this year, saving the state $700,000 to help mend its $16 billion budget deficit. The California legislature is the highest-paid in the country.

And amid rising costs and dwindling budgets, some generous school officials have taken funding matters into their own hands. In an effort to save money for Lake of Oswego Schools in Oregon, in February 2011 Superintendent Bill Korach offered to cut his salary nearly in half -- to $75,000 from $140,000.

The following August, California's Fresno County Schools Superintendent Larry Powell returned $800,000 in salary, opting to continue working for $31,000 a year -- $10,000 less than a first-year teacher in the district, and without benefits.

And this October, Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane turned down a raise for the second consecutive year, giving up $35,000 in pay over both years. Lane said the decision was made in light of serious financial problems facing the city's schools, and was done to support "the district and those who aren't with us. We lost a lot of good folks [to teacher layoffs]."



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