Board denies pay increases to administrators and supervisors

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

DISCUSSION: At left, Board of Trustees member Frank Ford asks some questions concerning a proposed pay increase to district administrators and supervisors.  Photo by Jeremy Pittari

DISCUSSION: At left, Board of Trustees member Frank Ford asks some questions concerning a proposed pay increase to district administrators and supervisors.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Members of the Board of Trustees for the Picayune Separate Municipal School District chose to maintain the same pay scales for administrators and directors in the coming fiscal year.
That means those employees will not receive an increase in pay.
The matter hinged on a request during a budget hearing held two weeks ago, where discussion about an increase to the pay rates of the superintendent, assistant superintendent, principals, and other supervisors, met with resistance. The matter came up for a vote on Tuesday.
Administrative raises would have provided those personnel with increases similar to the one approved to teachers as part of a state mandate, called a step increase, said District Finance Director Lisa Persick in previous coverage. The total impact to the budget for administrative pay raises would have been a total of $15,863 for 21 employees, Persick said previously.
An increase to supervisors was also outlined in that request, including those in the departments of maintenance, food service, technology, transportation and nursing. Persick said those increases would have impacted the budget by a total of $10,469 for pay raises to nine employees.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Board member Frank Ford made a motion to keep all administrators and supervisors at the same pay rate.
Board member Edward Stubbs disagreed. He felt the administration has been key in increasing the district’s test scores, and as such are entitled to the pay increases.
Ford’s contention was not that they did not deserve the raises, but that the district plans to spend more money than will be received. Board member Dr. Lori Blackmer said she agreed with Ford, and when the matter came down to a vote it was approved 3-1, with Blackmer, Ford and Board member Frank Feeley voting for leaving pay scales where they are, and Stubbs voting against that motion.
The second matter concerning the budget dealt with asking the city for more funding, in case property assessments don’t come in as high as Persick expects them to.
Over the past several years, property assessments have been on the rise, and with a new book outlining the value of building supplies set to be used this year, assessments are expected to rise again this year, according to Tax Assessor Gary Beech in previous coverage about the matter.
Ford and Feeley expressed concern about asking for more tax dollars. But Persick explained that if the district did not request it now, then if the assessment didn’t go up as expected, the district would receive less than their current millage cap. Currently the district is capped at 55 mills, which has been the case since before Persick joined the staff about 11 years ago, she said. Persick said when she turns in a request for funding, it’s not expressed in mills, it’s expressed in dollars.
The assessment determines how much a mill is worth, so if the assessment comes in less than the previous year, the district will receive less in funding.
Persick suggested that the Board could request more in funding now, and when the assessments are completed in August, adjustments can be made if they asked for too much.
The Board agreed to move forward with the request under that stipulation.
See Thursday’s Item for continued coverage of Tuesday’s meeting.

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