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Margaretta Schools hike pay for non-union staff

Alissa Widman Neese • Nov 19, 2013 at 2:10 PM

About two months after approving similar increases for teachers, board members approved 1 percent base salary increases for administrators, supervisors, secretaries and central office personnel.

The staff members — not including the district’s superintendent or treasurer — will see the increases each year for the next three years. The raises end a pay freeze initiated in the 2009-10 school year as Margaretta Schools pursued a tax levy to stabilize its budget.

The vote Monday was 3-1, with fifth board member Elmer Lippert abstaining from the vote and Kelly Kelble voting against it.

”I cannot justify giving raises over a three-year period when our five-year forecast predicts we will be in the red in 2016 and the school district will need to ask the taxpayers for more money,” Kelble said. “Our school is facing major building improvements that are not even reflected in the forecast.”

The increases are already factored into the district’s most recent five-year financial forecast, which projects a surplus in the current school year and enough reserve cash to carry Margaretta Schools until the 2017-18 school year. Its budget is about $13 million a year.

All staff members agreed to contribute more to their health insurance plans this year, more or less offsetting the cost of the pay increases, treasurer Jude Hammond said.

The district has no plans to pursue any additional tax levies at this time, he said.

“The biggest challenge in our forecast in years four and five has more to do with the state budget, and hopefully we’ll get some help there,” Hammond told Kelble during the meeting. “We believe going four years without raises is very difficult for our staff, yet at the same time, our staff still championed providing a quality education for our kids.”

Administrators did not ask board members Monday to approve a previously discussed plan to offer incentive-based bonuses to administrators and supervisors. Administrators and board members had reviewed the idea at previous meetings.

Some community members had spoken out against the proposal, which could have tacked on an additional $150 to an administrator’s salary for every “A” Margaretta Schools received on its state report card this year, according to district emails.

Also at the meeting, Townsend Community School director Pete Bartkowiak updated board members on his discussions with architects designing building projects for the charter school. Margaretta Schools is its sponsor district.

Board members changed the time of the meeting to 5:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. because of a school-related function that evening.

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