Philipsburg-Osceola administrators get pay raises

For the CDTSeptember 25, 2013 

— Philipsburg-Osceola administrators will see a pay raise, over the objections of one school board member.

Six certified administrators, like the principals of the district’s four school buildings, and five non-certified department heads had their Act 93 plans on the agenda Tuesday night. Act 93 employees are a group who fall under the rank of superintendent in certain key roles but not covered by collective bargaining unit contracts like teachers and support staff.

The employees had a pay freeze last year, and business manager Michael Conte had worked a two percent increase into the 2013-14 budget in anticipation of an increase this year. The plans presented came in under that.

“We knew that. The highest was 1.8 percent,” said board member Dana Droll. The increases came in flat dollar amounts, she said, rather than salary percentages, so the raises differed from employee to employee.

Droll was emphatic in her support of the increase, saying “Heck yeah” when she cast her vote.

Jim Verbeck was just as vocal in his opposition.

“I’m not going to vote for it, and I want you to know why,” he said, claiming the top salary in the group will be about $104,000, including the cost of benefits. “I think that’s a lot.”

He also said he opposed some of the justifications he had heard for the increases, especially the idea that it was possible due to the closing of the junior high school and reduction in the number of buildings. Verbeck said that savings has already been earmarked to pay for the renovations and construction at the new middle school building.

Superintendent Gregg Paladina supported his staff, but said he appreciated Verbeck’s position. “I think this is fair,” he told Verbeck of the proposal.

Earlier this month, Verbeck called for a review of administrative and other salaries, and the establishment of a matrix that would place a cap on how much any employee could make in a certain position.

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