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Hernando County School Board rejects raises for administrators

BROOKSVILLE — School administrators in Hernando County won't get a raise this year after all.

The School Board reversed course Tuesday night and voted against a 1.8 percent pay boost for 71 senior staffers, with a majority saying they couldn't abide giving raises in the face of potential teacher layoffs.

Several board members said they never would have supported the raise if superintendent Wayne Alexander had shared a petition showing 16 administrators planned to refuse the raise to help protect colleagues' jobs.

"We weren't provided the information that we needed to make a wise decision," said Pat Fagan.

At a workshop last month, every member except Chairwoman Dianne Bonfield said they'd support the raises for administrators, as well as professional and technical staff, since that money had already been budgeted. The board previously approved a 2.4 percent raise for teachers and a 5.5 percent boost for Alexander.

At that time, no board member went along with Bonfield's call to freeze salaries for all administrators earning more than $60,000. The raises would have cost the district an additional $94,000. But all members said they'd been left in the dark about the petition, in which at least 16 principals and senior administrators told Alexander that they'd refuse the raise.

"I'm going to change my vote," said member James Yant on Tuesday. "I probably would not have voted (to support the raise) had I seen the petition."

Members John Sweeney and Sandra Nicholson voted in favor of the raise, saying they felt bound to treat all employees in a similar manner.

"I have a hard time justifying a 'no' vote for one group of employees and a 'yes' vote for others," Sweeney said, "when they're all doing the best they can in their fields of expertise."

The board voted unanimously to award the raise to professional and technical staff, most of whom earn less than $60,000 a year.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

Hernando County School Board rejects raises for administrators 02/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 7:03pm]
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