PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — There’s some frustration at the Pickerington Local School District over a raise recently approved for its superintendent.
The increase in pay was approved 4-1 at the district’s school board meeting last, amounting to an 11.2% pay hike for superintendent Dr. Chris Briggs.
Speaking for the district’s teachers’ union, Pickerington Education Association president Brad Harris would like to see the money spent elsewhere.
“This is mid-contract, so, and he’s not being pursued by anybody else, so this is just something the board chose to do,” Harris said.
Briggs has been Pickerington’s superintendent since 2017 and is currently serving his second contract. His base salary is going up by $15,000, totaling $197,500, an 8.2% raise. Board members said it is the total compensation package that is increasing by 11.2%.
“Obviously, that’s the board’s decision,” Harris said. “What we would like to see is the focus be more on the needs of the kids.”
Harris said there is also frustration among union members considering the contract they just agreed to, which gave teachers a 2.5% pay raise.
“Nothing across the district anywhere compares to what the pay raise was with the superintendent,” Harris said.
There was only a brief public discussion at the meeting of Briggs’ raise.
“I just want to clarify that this is an 11.2% increase in the total compensation package for the superintendent, per our calculations,” school board member Cathy Olshefski asked.
“That is correct and well deserved,” school board member Vanessa Niekamp answered.
A statement from the four board members who approved the raise points to growth and improvement that the district said has happened during Briggs’ leadership.
School board president Keith Kristoff said some things talked about when deciding on Briggs’ salary were if the district was moving in the right direction, the student population and growth compared to other school districts, continuity, Briggs having more than 10 years of superintendent experience, and comparing salaries with other central Ohio districts.
A statement from the union representing the district’s support staff, the Pickerington Support Staff Association, also disagrees with the amount of the raise.
“PSSA members are disappointed in the Board’s decision to substantially increase the Superintendent’s compensation,” association president Joie Moore wrote in the statement. “Our members believe the function of the Pickerington School Board is to be responsible stewards of the District’s money. This means allocating resources to adequate staffing and prioritizing the needs of the students in the district.”