Portage schools put administrative pay increases on hold

2013-04-30T00:00:00Z Portage schools put administrative pay increases on holdJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Pay increases for 18 Portage Township Schools administrators were put on hold Monday.

It has been past practice of the school district to give up to $1,000 annual pay increases to new administrators in each of their first three years.

When the issue was brought up last week at the Portage Township School Board's discussion meeting, President Cheryl Oprisko objected.

While she wasn't against the idea, Oprisko said this was the first she had heard of the annual "salary increments" and wondered if they were legal in that the board did not approve the annual stipends.

Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia, in his first year at that post, said the increments had been granted to qualifying administrators since the late 1990s. The qualifying administrators could receive the full stipend or none, depending on an evaluation. Not all administrators were marked to receive the full increase.

Frataccia said at Monday night's regular meeting that there has been another glitch. A new state law would require formal evaluations of the administrators and require them to receive an effective or highly effective rating before any raises could be given.

He suggested the board table the issue until the formal evaluations could be completed.

Member Bill Fekete objected to delaying giving the raises, saying it has been past practice and only Oprisko was objecting.

"It seems like it is the board president's challenge over it, not the whole board. This is a five-member board," Fekete said.

"The law says we can't give out arbitrary raises even if it is past practice," Oprisko said.

"If the law has changed, we want to make sure it is legal," member Jessica Bailey said.

The issue was tabled with Oprisko, Bailey and Debra Ekdahl voting for the delay and Fekete and Rhonda Nelson voting against tabling the item.

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