Citing uncertainty in state and federal funding coupled with an operating fund deficit, Plainfield School District 202 board members rejected a proposal to give raises to administrators and non-union, non-certified support staff.
The 2.5 percent raises, retroactive to the 2012-13 school year, would have affected 160 staff members including assistant superintendents, directors, principals, assistant principals and support staff members who are not covered under the Plainfield Association of Support Staff (PASS) union contract.
The proposal would have cost the district $315,000 and was included in the budget, said Angela Smith, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and operations.
Supt. John Harper, who is under contract, would not have been affected by the raises.
Harper said the administration and the support staff have been asked “to do more with less,” and because the raises were already built into the budget, they would not have contributed to a deeper deficit.
But the majority of the school board said state and federal funding is too uncertain right now to be approving raises.
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President Roger Bonuchi, Vice-President Michelle Smith and board members Kevin Kirberg, Greg Nichols and Rod Westfall all voted against raises for administrators and non-union, non-certified support staff.
Board member Michael Kelly voted in favor of raises for both administrators and non-union, non-certified support staff.
Board Secretary Eric Gallt abstained from voting on raises for administrators but voted in favor of raises for non-union, non-certified support staff.
“It seems we are putting ourselves at risk to lose administration,” Kelly said.
Gallt added that members of the teachers and support staff unions received raises this year.
Other board members said that while they appreciate the hard work the administrators and support staff does, a raise isn’t financial feasible right now.
“I think they deserve it,” Bonuchi said. “But I can’t in good conscience do that in our financial position.”
Bonuchi noted that the general state aid may decrease next year costing the district millions of dollars, and the district will have to pay back $1 million in taxes now that Edward Hospital received a tax-exempt charitable status.
“District 202 is a family from our students to our superintendent,” Bonuchi said. “It’s hard to say no to this.”’
Bonuchi added he feels that there are better times ahead when the district will not be in the red.