The Liberty County Board of Education voted against the adoption of a new pay scale for district principals at its monthly work session Tuesday morning.
Roger Reese, chief financial officer for the Liberty County School System, presented the proposed pay scale to the board. He said that on the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee, an analysis of principals’ salaries was conducted.
According to Reese, the analysis revealed that LCSS principals were paid less than neighboring districts and other comparable-sized districts throughout the state. Based on those findings, a new pay scale that was “in line and consistent with other similar-sized districts” was drawn up.
Board members expressed concerns over the proposed pay scale prior to voting on its adoption.
Major points of contention related to finding the balance between experience and certification and the inception of pay scales per “groups” of employees versus one pay scale for every school system worker.
“To me, this is very confusing,” said board member Marcia Anderson, noting that she feels there should be one district-wide pay scale, with appropriate supplements in place per position.
Board member Harold Woods shared similar concerns, stating that he didn’t think it was fair for two principals of equal certification but disproportionate experience to receive the same compensation.
Verdell Jones, the board’s 1st District representative, said that she favored the pay scale as a means to eliminate all the “special fixes” that have occurred in the past.
“We should have a scale,” Jones said. “When anybody is applying for a position, they should be able to look at the scale; ‘I’m interested in a position, this is pretty much what they’re paying, this is where I’m going to fall based on my certification.’”
The motion to adopt the pay scale failed by a 2-4 vote, with Jones and board Vice Chairwoman Carol Guyett voting yes and Anderson, Woods, Becky Carter and Carolyn Smith-Carter opposed.
Board Chairwoman Lily Baker did not participate in the vote, as she and Lee were at a conference in Washington, D.C.
In other business, the board:
• unanimously approved adoption of LCSS’ five-year strategic plan, called the “Blueprint for Progress.” According to the executive summary, the plan will be implemented “over the five-year period beginning January 2015 through June 2020,” and will be “reviewed and revised as appropriate every five years.”
• approved acceptance of Perkins Improvement Grant funds. The grant provides funding for stipends, equipment, purchased services for equipment-related items, consumables, registrations and travel related to Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, according to the executive summary. The motion to approve passed unanimously, with Guyett abstaining.
• unanimously approved a motion to reject the sole bid received for work to modify Bradwell Institute’s greenhouse and agricultural area. According to the executive summary, the district plans to modify the scope of work for the project in hopes of garnering more bids and better pricing.