Austintown school board approves wage packages

By Christine Keeling


The Austintown Board of Education approved pay raises for several administrators and hired three new teachers for the upcoming school year.

The board earlier this week approved a five-year contract for Superintendent Vince Colaluca. He will receive a $2,000 wage increase beginning this school year, which is the final year of his three-year contract, and each year for the first three years of his new contract. His new pay for this year will be $97,000.

“There has been a staff wage-freeze since 2008,” Colaluca said. “We watched our budget and made cuts in administration and teachers.”

As an example, he said his pay is less than former superintendent Doug Heuer. Heuer’s salary was $105,198.

One-percent wage increases for 2011-12 were granted to Daniel Bokesch, director of curriculum. He received a two-year contract worth $75,750 each year.

The board approved three-year contracts for Malvern Culp, operations and facilities, who will earn $49,490 a year; Cynthia Douglas, Education Management Information System coordinator, will earn $40,965 a year; and Thomas Ventresco, technology coordinator, will earn $65,416 per year.

Officials said Ventresco used to receive a separate $10,000 stipend for extra duties he performed for the district’s data, Internet, telephone and security systems. That amount is now rolled into his yearly pay.

The board decided to increase transportation Supervisor Colleen Murphy’s income to $44,257 during the final year of her two-year contract. Administrative Assistants Annette Grahovac’s and Monica Pawlen’s salaries were increased to $33,653 and $30,358, respectively.

Treasurer Mary Ann Herschel was awarded a three-year contract that included a $1,500 pay raise in its first year, which will bring her salary to $69,500.

The board also approved three-year contracts to Janet Polish, directory of 21st Century Learning and Becky Morris, director of special education.

Seventy percent of Polish’s yearly $68,928 salary will be funded by Falcon Pride Online and 30 percent by Alternate Student Grants.

Morris will receive a one-time payment $6,000 from the nongeneral fund Healthcare Process Consulting Inc. in addition to her $71,276 yearly income. The payment is contigent on HPC being sustainable.

All district employees contribute 10 percent toward their health-care benefits.

Colaluca said he thought the raises helped retain talent in the district.

Youngstown State University graduates and first-year teachers Andrea LaMarca, Heather Landgraver and Kara Lemke joined the district after the board approved one-year limited contracts with a salary of $29,737 for each.

LaMarca will be the art teacher assigned to Watson Elementary School. Landgraver will teach fifth-grade social studies and science and Lemke will be the fourth-grade math teacher, both at Frank Ohl Intermediate School.

In other action, the board approved a new plan to deal with calamity makeup days, which will provide students online learning opportunities on days when the school is forced to close due to things such as weather.

The program will add three more calamity days to the five already allowable days before students must make up the time at the end of the year. Students who don’t have Internet access will be given “blizzard bags” that contain learning opportunities.

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