SOUTHINGTON — Town officials had little to say about a school administration restructuring plan and accompanying double-digit raises.
The Board of Education approved a $100.2 million spending plan last month — a 4.6 percent increase over the current budget of $95.8 million. The Board of Finance and the Town Council must approve education spending.
John Leary, finance board chairman and a Republican, said his board only had authority to determine the overall spending on the school district.
“With that amount of money, they decide how to pay people fairly to attract and retain talented folks,” he said. “Me as a chairman (of the finance board, I don’t opine on what they pay.”
Leary’s greater concern was the overall requested increase for the education board.
“They came in far above inflation in their budget request,” he said.
The finance board begins meeting with the board of education later this month.
Under the salary schedule passed by the school board last month, most administrators received raises between 2 and 3.5 percent. Total spending on salaries for school administrators and other non-union employees in the upcoming fiscal year will remain nearly constant despite individual increases of as much as 22 percent, which were offset by the elimination of a top position. School officials said the overall increase is well under 1 percent, since a supervisor of buildings and grounds retired. The position, which came with a salary of $90,000, wasn't filled and the duties redistributed.
Assistant School Superintendent Steven Madancy’s pay was boosted $10,000, or six percent. Operations Director Peter Romano's salary will go in stages from $116,000 to $141,000 by Nov. 9, a 22 percent increase over his current pay. The maintenance foreman's salary will go from $75,000 to $80,000 on July 1 and then to $85,000 later in the year, a 13 percent increase. Romano and the maintenance foreman took on new roles as a result of the buildings and grounds supervisor 's retirement. An accounting manager salary will increase from $77,000 to $85,000 on July 1 and then to $90,000 on Jan.1, 2020. The higher rate represents a nearly 17 percent increase.
Tom Lombardi, a Republican councilor, said the pay raises do “jump out” but said the school board did have reasons for the increases.
“The Board of Education didn’t just pull the number out of mid-air,” he said. “They seemed to justify their organizational structure.”
Town Council chairman Chris Palmieri, a Democrat and assistant principal, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
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