By Denise Dick
A former city school board member congratulated sitting members for rejecting a proposed raise for high- school principals and vowed to campaign against future school levies if such a raise is implemented by the academic distress commission.
“Our principals do not need a pay raise,” said Andrea Mahone, who served one term on the board before opting not to seek re-election.
She brought to the Tuesday school-board meeting James Thomas, a freshman at East High School who told board members that his history class of 24 students has only 12 books.
Mahone believes money would be better spent on things such as sufficient textbooks rather than raises for principals.
Earlier this month, Superintendent Connie Hathorn proposed raising the salaries of high-school principals by $2,000 per step to attract high-quality candidates to the district.
Principals now earn between $79,300 and $93,400 annually. Steps are based on educational attainment and years of service.
He said he was told to increase the pay by the Youngstown City Schools Academic Distress Commission when he said he encountered difficulty hiring people for the jobs.
Hathorn’s proposal would have raised high-school principal pay to between $81,333 and $95,436 annually.
School-board members rejected the higher principal pay, saying the district can’t afford it.
The academic distress commission then recommended that the board implement a scale that would raise high-school principal pay to between $95,000 and $105,000.
The board didn’t act on that recommendation. A special commission meeting is set for Tuesday.
If the commission overrides the board’s decision and implements the increased salaries, Mahone will start a committee to campaign against any proposed school levy, she said.
“It’s time for everybody to come together — the school board the superintendent and the commission — to come together and be of one accord,” Mahone said.
Jacqueline Adair, school- board member, said she has concerns, too.
“We are not going to go to war at this time — I’m not ready to do that,” she said. “I’m ready to sit and wait for the next commission chair, and I’m ready to work in a collaborative way with the new chairman.”
Adrienne O’Neill, commission chairwoman, is resigning effective June 30 or when the state superintendent names her replacement, because of health reasons.
Brenda Kimble, school-board vice president, said she appreciated the support from the community regarding the principal-salary issue.
“We really cannot afford it,” she said.