Board approves salary increase

BY KRISTEN BARON | JUNE 25, 2014 5:00 AM

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Despite salary freezes in the Iowa City School District, many will still receive pay increases.

The Iowa City School Board approved salary increases for approximately 40 administrators during Tuesday’s meeting.

Board members also approved roughly $400,000 for increased salaries for administrators, grants, off-schedule employees, supervisors, and food-service managers. Around $200,000 of that funding was allocated to administrators’ salaries.

School Board member Tuyet Dorau, who proposed the salary freeze in May, said she assumed the administrative freeze would also include directors and assistant directors of administrative departments.

There are eight directors and assistant directors who received combined salary increases of approximately $37,000. Dorau said that money could have been used for a program that was cut instead, such as the middle-school football program, which cost around $30,000.

“I didn’t intend for the freezes to occur so we could sit on the money,” Dorau said.

In May, the School Board approved an administrator salary freeze, which affected only six employees — the superintendent, two assistant superintendents, chief financial officer, chief human resources officer, and chief operating officer.

Around $4.4 million for salary increases were allocated to teachers, physical-plant workers, which includes maintenance, cleaning, and food and beverage supplies, paraeducators, building secretaries, and food-service employees for nonadministrative staff had previously been approved.
Out of the  $4.4 million, approximately $3.6 million of that funding was allocated to teachers.

The budget for 2015 recently included $3.6 million cuts, which primarily affected music, language, and middle-school football programs.

Budget cuts will also lead to an increase in class sizes because of the  lower number of classes available after programs were cut.

The meeting became heated when the board members discussed the salary raises of those in administrative positions.

“That was a really hard process,” Superintendent Stephen Murley said about cutting school programs. “We want to provide as little negative impact on students as possible.”

With around 15 people in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, many were noticeably disgruntled by the approved salary increases.

Iowa City resident and parent Phil Hemingway was the only person in attendance who spoke publicly about his frustrations.

“When you spend in certain areas, you take away from others, and when you say yes to things, you say no to many more,” Hemingway said.

Despite some backlash from the program cuts in favor of salary raises, Murley insisted that the year has been “incredibly productive” for the School District.

“We’ve done an amazing amount of work this past year,” he said. “As a part of that work, we have to pay people to do it.”

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