Raises given to Wellington Schools administrators are generating negative feedback from parents in the community.
At the board of education meeting last Tuesday, Mollie Deidrick expressed concerns about the way the district is spending money.
Most of the board of education voted to approve a one percent for leaders Laura Groboske, Dennis Zeigler, and Sean Arno at its July 21 meeting. Craig Housum received at five percent raise. Board member Ayers Ratliff voted against the raises.
Deidrick said she also disagreed with the raises and is worried about Wellington becoming financially stable.
Board president Joe Calfo pointed out that administrators weren’t the only ones to receive raises recently.
At the Aug. 18 meeting the board approved raises for three Wellington Schools employees: administrative assistant Beth Breisch, payroll specialist Tari Diedrick, and accounts payable specialist Susan Doehr.
Superintendent Dennis Mock said it had been about eight years since these non-union employees had received a raise. Ayers voted with the majority and Deidrick later said she had no issue with the three raises approved that evening.
Calfo also noted that raises were a cost of business but Deidrick still didn’t see the administrative raises as justified.
“Our business is failing so shouldn’t we be trying to moderate that?” she asked.
Deidrick said she believed administrators were important but should not be made a priority when the community was fighting last year to save all-day kindergarten and the district’s speech pathologist.
Calfo addressed the administrative raises again at the end of the meeting.
He said part of the problem is that administrators don’t have a salary schedule so they’re forced to renegotiate their salary every time their contract is up. Calfo also expressed his belief that bashing administrators publicly isn’t fair and that one percent wasn’t a huge raise.
“If the district wants to move forward, public arguments aren’t necessarily the place to move forward,” he said. “That has been what this district has done since before I came on the board, while I’ve been on the board, and I hope it stops after I get off the board.”
Ratliff joined in the conversation and placed blame on Calfo.
“I was at a meeting and you stood up and called me a liar twice and you don’t think that’s contributing to the bad situation?” he said. “You’re as much or more to blame than anybody on this board, Joe.”
Ratliff said the raises the administrators received don’t include their State Teachers Retirement System personal contribution, which is paid for by the board.
The contribution was 13 percent for the 2015-2016 school year and goes up to 14 percent for 2016-2017. Teachers must make their own contributions.
The two men could not come to an agreement, but Ayers said he still stands behind his “no” vote and would do it again.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise
Wellington resident Mollie Deidrick expresses concerns about the way the district is spending money.