School Board OKs raisesAfter hours of debate the James-town Public School Board agreed to spend the budgeted amount on salaries for administrators and non-administrators at a special meeting Monday.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
After hours of debate the James-town Public School Board agreed to spend the budgeted amount on salaries for administrators and non-administrators at a special meeting Monday.
For this school year the board approved an average 4.6 percent raise for the 23 employees, with some receiving 4 percent and others receiving 6.5 percent, based on Superintendent Bob Toso’s recommendation.
Administrators include principals, a business manager, non-teaching professionals in information technology, social work and speech pathology, an adolescent center director, adult farm director and food service director.
The vote passed 5-4 with board members Diane Hanson, Greg Allen, Heidi Larson, Shelly Jystad and Tanya Ostlie in favor and Gail Martin, Gary Peterson, Roy Musland and Rosemary McDougall opposed.
Toso’s salary is not included in this process, as he previously signed a two-year contract.
This vote came at the end of the meeting, during which numerous motions failed, and Robert’s Rules of Order was consulted on amendments, submotions and the way the meeting was run.
Robert’s Rules is the recognized guide to running meetings and conferences fairly and effectively.
“Not only are these motions failing, but this board is failing the district,” Allen said close to the end of the meeting when no decision was agreed on for salaries. “This is just not right — we need to get this resolved.”
Prior to approving the 4.6 percent average raise the School Board voted down flat 4, 4.7 and 5 percent raises across the board, as well as a flat $3,000 raise across the board.
“My concern now is we seem to be dragging this thing through whatever, and we need to get it resolved,” Allen said.
Toso originally recommended a 5 percent raise on Sept. 6 after the Jamestown Education Association negotiated a similar figure for every teacher in the district.
His proposed 5 percent raise would cost the district close to an extra $3,800 compared to the 4.6 percent that was approved by the board in the budget months before.
“We’re talking $3,800 on a $25 million budget — we’re not breaking the budget,” Toso said.
Part of the discussion seemed to center around fiscal responsibility for a district that will face deficit spending in the 2012-2013 school year. But most of the discussion centered around the role administrators play for the district.
“They’re all valuable to the district in different ways and administrators are valuable to the district in so many ways that people don’t understand,” McDougall said.
Martin expressed her frustration before the first 5 percent vote.
“If this doesn’t pass I feel very strongly that administration should start negotiating and they’d be foolish if they didn’t,” she said.
After that 5 percent raise motion failed, Toso brought the board data for a proposal to break the staff into two groups, administrative and non-administrative, which passed.
This would prove futile as the board eventually settled on the balanced 4.6 percent with 4 percent for some and 6.5 percent for others, leaving the percentage of the raise up to Toso.
Many board members voted on different sides of the issues during the meeting. Most said even though they may oppose a 5 percent raise that administrators are still valuable to the district.
“I really think they deserve it, they work really hard, they have a lot of years of experience and we trust them to move our district forward,” McDougall said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com