Bartlesville school leaders' pay hike draws criticism

Tuesday, August 19th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (AP) -- Bartlesville school administrators will get a raise this year along with the district's teachers, despite criticism they should cut back during the ongoing budget crisis.

The Board of Education approved raises for all school employees Monday.

The raises come from an unexpected $156,000 reimbursement from the state for property tax revenue.

Barbara Reese, a school choir booster, argued against administrative pay increases, asking the board to instead reinstate positions that have been cut.

The booster club is trying to raise $17,000 to pay for two choir accompanists whose jobs were eliminated when the district cut $1.5 million from its 2003-04 budget in April.

Another resident, Bill Boatright, questioned if the board could continue to fund increases made possible through a windfall.

"What concerns me is these appear to be one-time funds," he said. "If we put them into salaries, we are locking ourselves in and we don't know how we would fund it next year."

Board members unanimously approved step increases for teachers and classified staff members. The vote to approve administrative increases was split.

The board had three options for providing raises to administrators, and members chose a step increase of 1.14 percent, which will cost the district about $17,000.

"These people are hardworking people," said board member Kyle Reeder, "and it's my opinion they deserve an increase just as those they supervise are getting."

Superintendent Gary Quinn had recommended a higher percentage scale for administrative raises.

The district could face an estimated $850,000 revenue shortfall in the coming school year. This year's $30.5 million budget includes cuts that affected 23 classified jobs and 14 teaching positions.