Westerville News & Public Opinion

Vote brings 3 percent raises for administrators, staff

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The Westerville Board of Education has approved pay raises for district administrators and administrative staff.

The raises are in newly approved administrative guidelines covering 102 employees. These include building administrators, high school athletic directors, district office administration, administrative secretaries, computer technicians and other positions not represented by unions.

The board recently approved 2 percent annual pay increases in four-year contracts with non-teacher, union-represented employees.

In a special meeting July 9, the board voted 4-0 to approve the new guidelines, including 3 percent annual base pay raises for administrators and administrative support staff. Board member Tracy Davidson was absent from the meeting.

"While the length of this agreement provides employees some long-term security in regard to compensation, it also provides the board with stability regarding its impact on the five-year forecast," Superintendent John Kellogg said in a press release.

"We ensured the total compensation for both sets of guidelines align with assumptions in the forecast and is within parameters we've set to keep the district on track with its financial projections."

Similar to many employees in the district, administrators took a pay freeze after a levy failure in November 2011. Some administrator positions took on insurance costs or reduced retirement savings to save money for the district, which resulted in about $6,000 loss in salary per administrator.

"I give really high marks to the administrators who have chosen to stay with us these past few years," board President Nancy Nestor-Baker said. "(They) have really stepped up to the plate. Even with the going backward in salary, even with the loss of on average $6,000 a year that our administrators have lost, (they) still managed to keep the performance levels of the district coming along at a remarkable level."

The new administrative guidelines will be in effect through July 31, 2016. The guidelines include annual 3 percent base pay increases and adjustments to ensure no administrators are being paid beneath the minimum pay for their job classifications.

For administrators in the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, the board approved a change from 11 percent to 13 percent "pickup on the pickup" in retirement costs. This means the board will pay the extra percentage into an administrator's retirement.

The board also will pay Medicare costs for classified administrators who are not in STRS.

The new guidelines for administrative staff will be in effect through July 31, 2018. The guidelines include an annual 3 percent base pay increase, too, but also include steps per the salary schedule. Administrators do not receive step increases.

Most changes to the administrative staff's guidelines are similar to those negotiated with the district's non-teaching employee unions.

The pay increases as well as the retirement adjustments fall within the district's five-year forecast guidelines, making these pay bumps affordable for the district.

Board member the Rev. Rick Vilardo said it's "tremendous" that the district can remain within the budget guidelines and provide the pay raises the administrators and appointed staff earned.

"These folks have helped our district to fly as high as it is right now," Vilardo said. "I want to attract and retain the best that we can, always looking at the reality of our five-year forecast."

Now that the district is healthy financially, the school board, superintendent, administrators and district treasurer will look at performance-based compensation plans as a possible replacement for the current administrative pay structure.

Board member Carol French is in favor of evaluating a performance-based pay structure.

"That's how we as the board evaluate the treasurer and superintendent, by their performance," French said. "That is a definite goal I want to see our superintendent get to ... so we don't have to do across-the-board raises by percentage."

Kellogg's release on the new guidelines said he will convene a group during the 2014-15 school year consisting of himself, board members, administrators and the treasurer to examine performance-based compensation plans that could be used to replace the current administrative pay structure.

The school board's next meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Monday, July 28 at the Early Learning Center, 936 Eastwind Drive.

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