Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Pottsgrove Admin Raises Are Budget Cost Savings

Photo by Evan Brandt
CORE COMPETENCIES: Pottsgrove Schools Superintendent William Shirk, left, recognizes the administrative team whose efforts resulted in Pottsgrove High School and Pottsgrove Middle School being named Apple Distinguished Schools. From left are David Ramage, director for Integration for Learning and Instruction, Pottsgrove High School Principal William Ziegler, Tony Bickert, director of technology and Pottsgrove Middle School Principal Matt Boyer.

"What's that?" you say.

"How can that be?" you ask.

Read on dear visitor and you shall be enlightened. (Hint, it had to do with a resignation with a high salary.)

One month after approving an early bird three-year contract with the teachers union, the Pottsgrove School Board Tuesday night unanimously adopted a new three year-agreement with its administrators as well as their raises for the year.

The administrators 21 building and district-level supervisors, are known as the Act 93 employees for the Pennsylvania law that governs the manner in which they "meet and discuss" with the school board to negotiate employment conditions.

This is different from the teachers union, which is protected and operates under federal and state labor laws and are allowed to strike in Pennsylvania.

The Act 93 agreement does not govern higher level employees, like the superintendent, assistant superintendent or business manager, each of whom has an individual contract with the school district.

The salary information provided by Assistant Superintendent Robert P. Harney did not provide the previous salaries for those whose salaries were approved last night, so it is impossible to determine how much of a raise each of them received.

What is clear is that whatever the increases, the overall budget impact will actually decrease by more than $45,000.

 He explained that the savings was the result of the resignation of Lower Pottsgrove Elementary Principal Yolanda Williams, who was making nearly $146,000 per year. Assistant Principal Steven Sieller, who stepped in, was being paid about $91,000 until he took the reins in January, and is now only being paid $112,500.

The difference, plus the vacancy of his old job, produced the savings, said Harney.

The highest salary among the Act 93 group is that of High School Principal William Ziegler, who will be paid $147,945 for the current school year.

Coming in second is Daniel Vorhis, director of education, who will be paid $138,685 in the current school year. Third is David Ramage at $130,202. He is the director for Integration for Learning and Instruction.

Rounding out the top five salaries are Kate Pacitto, director of pupil services at $128,408 and Middle School Principal Matt Boyer at $124,950.

Harney said there were a few changes to the agreement governing these salaries, primarily the addition of some positions, including those that did not exist when the last agreement was adopted.

It sets a "market place" of eight school districts to help determine "target salaries."

It sets raise levels at four levels, 3 percent for "distinguished performance; 2 percent at proficient performance; 0 to 1.5 percent for "needs improvement;" and 0 percent for "failing performance," all of which is determined by evaluating how the administrator has performed in meeting goals set at the beginning of the evaluation period.

Harney said the another change included in the agreement is that if any of the administrators make contributions to the 403(b) retirement plans the district offers, the district will make match the employee's contribution up to 1 percent of base salary as well.

The agreement also limits tuition reimbursement for pursuing higher degrees to 12 credits per year, provided a grade of B or better is achieved. The agreement uses the current Immaculata University per-credit rate and anything above that is the responsibility of the administrator/student.

As in previous agreements, an administrator who gives early notice of retirement receives a $500 bonus and, once retired, will receive 50 percent of the cost of the district's core healthcare insurance plan for 10 years.

Both the new agreement and the new raises were adopted unanimously by the school board without comment Tuesday night.

Here are the Tweets from the meeting.

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