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Education: School board won't share in district pay raises

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The savings aren’t much, but it’s the principle that matters, according to School Board Chairman Jim Dumm.

A unanimous vote by the board this week excluded their pay from district-wide raises that go into effect next week. That will save the district $947.39.

The board approved a $69.5 million operating budget in June without a pay raise for its 1,400 employees because it was unsure of state funding. Once the district found it would receive about $900,000 more from the state this year, the board agreed to raise pay by an average of 2 percent, with the increase to take effect in October.

The increase is estimated to cost $750,000 to $800,000. Staff were still at work on determining the exact cost this week, said Lisa Johnson, the district finance director.

Based on average pay, the raise will be worth about $800 to the district’s teachers.

Dumm said he thought school board salaries weren’t affected by the pay raise. “I was under the impression that we had a policy in place that the board salaries would not automatically increase,” he said.

But Johnson found that wasn’t the case.

As chairman, Dumm gets $9,407 a year. The other eight board members get $6,719.

“Any time the board approves an increase for itself, it ought to be done out in the open,” Dumm said.

At a meeting this week, he asked the board for a motion to freeze their pay. “Not that I don’t think the board deserves a raise,” he added.

He got the motion and it passed without comment.

Superintendent Randy Dozier said staff would draft a policy that requires school board pay to be voted on separately from district employees in the future.

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