South-Western Administrators Association forgoes pay raises
“Without the passage of Issue 15, students lose out,” said Bob Rains at the March 9 South-Western City Schools Board of Education meeting.
Rains, the principal of Brookpark Middle School, was on hand as a representative of the South-Western Administrators Association (SWAA). He reported that the members of SWAA want to work with the community to pass the 8.3-mill tax levy. This is why he announced that the members have offered to extend their current contract for one year and forgo an annual pay increase.
SWAA includes building principals, assistant principals and most of the administration in the district office. Rains said in all, there are about 120 members.
“We know the community members have tightened their belts,” said Rains. “This is why we made this offer.”
He added, “There have already been enough cuts.”
The SWAA contract expired at the end of February. After Rains’ proposal, the board adjourned into an executive session to review the offer. Within minutes they returned and accepted the one-year contract extension.
The board also approved a resolution to accept salary waivers from Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise and Treasurer Hugh Garside.
The 8.3-mill operating levy will be on the May 5 ballot. Even if voters approve the levy, district officials say they need to make about $1.7 million in cuts.
If Issue 15 fails, the district would cut approximately $6.4 million from its budget. The cuts include closing Harribsurg Elementary and moving the students and most staff to Darbydale Elementary. The Kingston School would also close and services there would be distributed throughout the district. The principal positions at Harrisburg and Kingston would be eliminated.
The district cuts include eliminating athletics, co-curricular and extracurricular activities and other clubs. The district said this would save $2.5 million. Reductions also involve getting rid of seven administrative personnel positions, 29 certificated personnel positions and 30 classified or staff support jobs.
The tax levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $22 a month or $254 annually. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay $44 each month or $508 a year.
At the meeting, several residents in attendance spoke out in favor of the tax levy. Jeff Davis said he has lived in Grove City for 20 years, but does not have a student in the district. He has a child that goes to Grove City Christian School. Davis said the community has an obligation to support its schools and give students the best opportunities possible.
“I think it is obscene to think of taking away band and sports. It’s a vital part of education,” said Davis.
Resident Dick Curtiss agreed. He told the board that performing arts and athletics are a large part of the school experience.
“I am asking people not to dim the stage lights or the Friday night football lights.”
No one was on hand to speak out against the tax levy. Voters rejected the previous 9.69-mill tax levy and bond issue.
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