Olentangy Valley News

Olentangy admins, others get raises

Board member Adam White objects

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Olentangy schools will give 2 percent raises to its administrators, bus drivers and non-union classified employees next school year, despite the objections of one board member.

The board voted 3-1 at its Aug. 20 meeting to approve the raises, with board member Adam White voting against the raises and board member Dave King absent.

The 2 percent raises were passed as four separate action items affecting: all bus drivers represented by the Ohio Association of Public School Employees No. 322; all district administrators; all non-union classified employees under a regular contract; and the superintendent and treasurer.

The district had approved one-year contract extensions with unions representing its maintenance workers and teachers earlier in the summer. Both extensions included 2 percent raises in 2015-16.

White asked if the administrators, including the superintendent and treasurer, were "leveraging" the bargained raises to get their own wage increases.

Superintendent Wade Lucas' base salary for the 2014-15 school year is $169,793, according to the district. A 2 percent raise would increase his base salary to $173,188 in 2015-16.

Treasurer Brian Kern's base salary for the 2014-15 school year is $125,352. The 2 percent raise will increase his base salary to $127,859 in 2015-16.

Board President Kevin O'Brien said the district was pursuing uniform wage increases.

"Leverage is your term," he said to White. "I think we applied a consistent approach across all bargaining and non-bargaining units."

White said he questioned whether the raise for administrators was appropriate in light of additional insurance and retirement benefits they receive under their contracts. He said the raise would represent about a 13 percent or 14 percent wage increase for administrators if those benefits were included in the debate.

O'Brien said White was trying to misrepresent the issue by bringing benefits already embedded in administrators' contracts into the discussion.

"The only change, the increment, is the 2 percent (increase) on the base," O'Brien said.

White said he thought the administrators' benefit packages should be part of any discussion involving wages.

"It's still money," he said. "It occurs every year."

O'Brien has said the one-year contract extensions with the district's unions will give district officials another year to lobby the state for more per-pupil funding. If the district receives more funding from the state, it likely would heavily influence long-term contract negotiations and could postpone Olentangy's next levy request.

District officials have said Olentangy schools are being punished for being a wealthy, growing district. The district receives about $400 per student from the state, while private charter schools receive $1,089 per pupil.

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