LAKE PLACID - Raises for current Lake Placid school district employees and an after-the-fact salary increase for former Assistant Principal Dan Mayberry generated some debate at last week's school board meeting, but in the end they all passed with overwhelming support.
The board approved a salary adjustment for Mayberry, who left the district at the end of the 2011-12 school year to become principal at Keene Central School, with only one member in opposition: Herb Stoerr.
The adjustment means Mayberry will get an additional $5,749.90.
Superintendent Randy Richards said Mayberry did the district a "great service" when he assumed many of former Principal Katherine Mulderig's job responsibilities. Mulderig accepted a settlement offer and parted ways with the district after spring break.
"To be fair to him, he did do an awful lot of the principal's duties," Richards said.
"What I did was I took the salary that the former principal would have made and kind of pro-rated it against the number of days he served to come up with a recommendation for him for extra pay for the position," he added. "Dan and I discussed this a couple of times. He asked me if I would ask the board for it, and I told him I'd gladly support it. He did a good job for the district."
Leonard Sauers, the district's budget officer, said the funds for the salary adjustment will come out of the 2012-13 budget.
Richards said Mayberry asked for the salary increase with about one month left in the school year. The two revisited the request at the end of June.
Stoerr said Mayberry should have asked for the raise as soon as he began fulfilling some of the principal's duties, or the district should have given him a bonus at the end of the school year.
"I feel it was a temporary job, and it helped him gain a promotion to another school district by building up his experience," Stoerr said. "Many times people take on extra duty in their lifetime to prepare themselves for their next promotional opportunity, and I think that's what he did."
"I don't think that was in his mind at that time," school board President Mary Dietrich said. "At that time, his loyalty was in Lake Placid."
Board member John Hopkinson said he didn't view the salary adjustment for Mayberry as an "extraordinary amount."
"I just look upon somebody who lives locally, who is dedicated to the area, and who knows where he's going to be or want to be 10 years from now," he said. "It's good PR to do it. He may come back here."
The board also approved 2 percent salary increases for District Clerk Karen Angelopoulos, elementary school Principal Javier Perez, Deputy Treasurer Bebe Bickford and Sauers.
Sauers said the salary increases for Bickford and Angelopoulos were supposed to be included in the 2012-13 budget but were left out by accident. The increases for Perez and himself weren't budgeted because the district was under "extreme pressure" to meet the state's property tax cap, Sauers said.
"The reason, I believe, they're being recommended now is because we've got two administrative positions that were vacated, and now we've got two temporary positions coming in at a lot less salary, so there's going to be some salary savings there," he said. "So it was an opportunity at that time to be able to award the administrators a 2 percent pay raise."
Greg Camelo was recently hired as interim high school principal, and Rick Retrosi was appointed middle school principal; they'll be paid less than their respective predecessors, Mulderig and Mayberry.
Board member Patti Gallagher, who voted against the 2 percent raises, said she isn't opposed to them but felt like they all should have been included in the budget before the public voted on it in May.
"We are one month into the calendar year for 2012-13 with our budgeted money, and we're talking about what's being seen as extra," Gallagher said, referring to savings associated with the interim administrators.
"We have two interim positions, we have no idea what we will fill the position with," she continued. "I think there are a lot of unknowns within the administration. I think that this was an anticipated expense that should have been presented with an amount to our taxpayers."
Gallagher said the board should explain to taxpayers why the raises are necessary when budget season draws near.