A contract extension will make sure Mark Raiff still leads the Olentangy Local School District when Berlin High School opens for the 2018-19 school year.

The superintendent's contract is set to expire July 31, 2018, but Olentangy school board President Roger Bartz confirmed last week an extension is in the works. Bartz said the board could vote on an extension as soon as Thursday, June 22, but declined to release further details until the contract is finalized.

Raiff, who previously served as the district's chief academic officer and principal at Olentangy Liberty High School, succeeded Wade Lucas as superintendent in summer 2015.

Bartz said Raiff has successfully navigated a levy campaign, redistricting efforts and union negotiations since taking the top job at the district.

"It absolutely is an endorsement of (Raiff's) leadership," he said.

Bartz said he thinks working out an extension with the superintendent a year ahead of his contract's expiration makes sense strategically for the district.

"No one wants to negotiate in the last year of a contract unless you absolutely have to," he said.

At the board's June 8 meeting, members voted unanimously to approve new contracts with the unions representing Olentangy's custodians and bus drivers. The board also approved what Raiff described as 2.25 percent "cost-of-living" raises for nonunion classified employees, food-service workers, the superintendent and Treasurer Emily Hatfield.

The raise will increase Raiff's annual salary to about $167,000.

The board's move to extend Raiff's contract follows a flurry of hiring activity involving key positions in the district in recent months. The board has hired principals for Berlin and Olentangy high schools and athletics directors for Berlin and Orange high school since April.

Bartz said it's tempting to think the pace will slow down after the recent personnel moves. He said he knows that may not be the case in the fast-growing district.

"With the size our district is, it's inevitable something always will be in play," he said.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@TWGallick