Clarion

Administrators receive raises against backdrop of cuts

J.Geil

Superintendent Kevin Skinkis and Principal Pam Bylsma stand for the Pledge at Skinkis' hiring ceremony last year. As a first year administrator, Skinkis did not receive a raise, whereas Bylsma received a 2.7% raise for the current school year.

Renee Miedlar, Public Relations Editor

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During a closed meeting of the Board of Education on August 9th, the board unanimously approved pay raises for all of its top administrators except for new superintendent Dr. Kevin Skinkis who is in the first year of his contract.  Beneficiaries include Principal Pam Bylsma, Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction Tim Scanlon, Assistant Principal of Student Affairs John Passarella, Dean of Students David Sibley, and Director of Special Education Gayle Brankin.

Scanlon’s raise (6%) was predetermined in his contract, approved in 2009, because he will be retiring at the end of the current school year.  At the time it was approved, Scanlon’s raise structure mimicked pay raises offered to retiring classroom teachers.  No other administrator’s raise was arranged due to terms of a previously existing contract.

Each administrator has a different contract, and each one expires after a certain number of years.  However, after each school year, administrators are eligible to receive a raise.  The school board discusses the outcome of the school year and reviews job performances in closed sessions and goes on from there to determine appropriate raises.

The raises have sparked strong negative reaction from some of the public, notably those commenting within the anonymous forums of the Riverside Brookfield Landmark.  Those posting have questioned why raises were granted to administrators following a summer where significant student activities such as the Fall play, Spring musical, and Math Club were cut for budgetary reasons.

In response, Skinkis said, “This item was already on the table from [former superintendent] Dr. Bonnette.  It just never got finalized.  No employment group at RBHS took a pay freeze this school year.”

In a much publicized announcement, the RB teachers’ union offered a partial pay-freeze last year if the referendum had past.  The freeze would have affected the base pay of all non-retiring teachers, though teachers still would have received raises for increasing experience.  When the referendum failed, the teachers’ union retracted this offer.

While no employment group at RB saw a pay freeze this year, most other aspects of the school faced budgetary cuts.  22 clubs were eliminated, at least one assistant coach was removed from each sport, and a “Pay to Play” fee system was instituted.

School board President Matt Sinde explained some of the decision-making process behind the raises.

“The salary increases that were given to our administrators were a percentage of CPI (Consumer Price Index).  By doing this, we are managing within our revenue stream.  District 95 recently renewed the contract of their superintendent with salary increases as a percentage of CPI,” he said.

Sinde also noted that RB’s administrators work hard for the benefit of students and deserve a reward for that work.

“The administrators at Riverside Brookfield High School work long hours to provide the leadership needed to provide our students with an excellent educational experience which will help them to succeed in their future endeavors,” he said.

He also acknowledged how the budgetary constraints facing RB have changed the scope of the administrators’ work.

“Our administrators will be asked to do more with less this school year and next school year,” he said.

Other than Scanlon’s contractually guaranteed 6% raise, administrator raises ranged from 1.53-2.7%.  According to the Illinois Interactive School Report Card, administrators at RB earned an average of $130,855 in salary during the 2010-2011 school year.  In comparison, administrators at Lyons Township earned $137,525 and administrators at Oak Park River Forest High School earned $154,697.

About the Writer
Renee Miedlar, Public Relations Editor

Sugar and spice and everything nice, these are the things that make up Renee Miedlar. She enjoys a nice hot cup of tea paired with a long book. She also...

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Administrators receive raises against backdrop of cuts”

  1. Louis Robling on September 28th, 2011 12:55 pm

    It’s unbelievable that in the wake of what happened last year, about the high teacher salaries, the board has the guts to give administrators raises. Definitely a poor way to start of the year on their part. I look forward to seeing how this gets used against them this spring when inevitably they ask the tax payers for a referendum.

    Nice to see the Clarion i still giving more detail than Landmark articles.

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  2. raymond on October 1st, 2011 9:37 pm

    When students curriculum – which is the reason for a district 208 taxing body, the reason for having a building, a reason, in short for RBHS – is being cut, administrators obviously should not get an increase, no matter how hard they are working. There were no direct questions to the Board on this anomaly with their answers reported in this article.

    The board / administration did not have to cut the programs. This did virtually nothing to close the budget gap anyway. It was cynically done to put a hurt on the community’s students – again, ironically, the very reason there are any administrators at all.

    The Board is looking out for the administrators – already with an absurdly high avg comp level of $130,000; the teachers’ union is looking out its own nicely, but who is looking out for the students, the very reason for all of this?

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  3. concerned community member on October 1st, 2011 10:19 pm

    If you don’t have enough money for clubs and activities for the students, then you don’t have enough money for administrators. From the article, at least some of the increases were discretionary and not contract based.

    Cuts to the students’ programs should be LAST things cut and not the first.

    We have our priorities upside down.

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  4. Fred Smith on October 10th, 2011 5:58 am

    I just read the report by Renee Miedler, Publlic Relations Editor, on the Board’s vote to give raises to administrators. It says the action was taken in a closed meeting. Isn’t it true that all official actions of the school board, especially involving expenditures of public money, must be voted on in an open meeting. Something’s wrong.

    The raises indicate that the current board’s value judgments are as poor as the previous Herbst-led board. Last May or June, the board could have terminated Tim Scanlan’s outrageous deal by eliminating his position, if it took that to void his special contract. He and the board are gaming the Teacher Retirement System to inflate his pension. The rationalizations for giving raises to other administrators should embarrass those who made them. And this board, like the previous one, made no effort to propose to the RBEA a renegotiation of some of the teachers’ contract. Board President Sinde and the current members are leading to a future defeat of any referendum for a tax rate increase. We’d had hopes that these members would be better than they’ve performed so far.

    SPONSOR’S NOTE:
    To clarify, while discussion of the raises took place in closed session, voting took place in open session and was unanimously in favor of the raises, as indicated by the article. Typically, discussion of personnel matters (like raises) is always done in closed session. Additionally, unless accepted, contract renegotiations are not generally made public. It is beyond the scope of this article whether or not any renegotiation efforts with the RBEA have been made by either this board or the previous. -D. Mancoff

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Administrators receive raises against backdrop of cuts