The Groton Board of Education approved pay raises Monday night for central office staff. Across the board 2.75 percent increases were blessed but three positions – human resources, operations and business chiefs will see an additional .25 percent for a total of a 3 percent bump.
“I wish we could give everyone a lot more,” said Beth Gianacoplos.
The raises are not merit based, although Interim Superintendent Randall Collins said “if you want to go that way, that’s acceptable, but not this year.”
And the vote, which was held in open, not executive session, could not include discussion about specific personnel in any of the jobs, per se. Though based on the vote to ok a larger increase, albeit at .25 percent, to just three of the five so-called ‘cabinet’ staff -- Human Resources Director Laurie LePine, Director of Facilities Wes Greenleaf and Business Manager Carolyn Dickey (all of whom regularly attend BOE meetings, members said) – a performance measure could be inferred.
This is the first year in two for cabinet staff to receive any raise at all.
The vote was 6 to 1 to approve; the dissenting vote came from Shelly Gardner.
“I’m feeling we’re in a tight economic situation in our country. We don’t know when things are going (to improve),” she said. “I’d hate to have to lay people off (later).”
According to Dickey and Collins’ report to the BOE, the central office hourly staff and the secretaries union all got an across the board 2.75 percent pay increase. In previous years, they have seen similar raises. In 2009 through 2011, for example, these employees received a 3 percent increase and last year, they got a 2.5 percent raise.
Teachers agreed to a wage freeze – no cost of living, no step increases – in 2010 and 2011. In 2011 to 2012, no COLA but a one step increase, save for those at the highest step, 13.
And while Gardner voted down admin pay bumps, she did give a thumbs-up to increasing substitute teachers from $85 a day to $90 a day, saying if “you’ve ever been a substitute teacher” one would understand. Chaz Zezulka agreed as did Beverly Washington who said she’s heard from teachers that’s it’s difficult to find on-call, daily subs, as opposed to assigned or long term substitute teachers.
The pay increases will be effective July 1.
Member Rita Volkman asked to get data on health insurance co-pays rates and increases for the next meeting, July 9.
Chair Kirsten Hoyt and member Patricia Doyle were not at the meeting, the former on vacation, Gianacoplos said.