By Terry Dean
Administrators at Oak Park and River Forest High School received salary increases this week after the District 200 Board of Education approved the hikes.
The increases ranged from 2.5 percent for some to as high as 9 percent for others. The increases took effect on Monday, which is the start of fiscal year 2014. According to high school officials, the overall increase is less than a percent higher than FY 2013. OPRF administrators have received annual pay hikes over the last decade, including the superintendent, assistant superintendents and division chairs.
The D200 board approved the increases on June 27. Board member Sharon Patchak-Layman was the only board member voting against the increases, as she's done over the last few years. She said that the school should not be giving automatic annual pay hikes to administrators.
"I think we pay our administrators very well, and I think if you look at the base salary, it's a really good salary, and I appreciate all of the work they do. But I don't feel a need every year to increase salaries," Patchak-Layman said. "We have historically just either used an increase based on what others in the building may be getting or a slight adjustment based on added responsibilities or changes in job title.
"Those kinds of decisions put the district in a very difficult position when it's really the taxpayers who are paying the salaries."
Patchak-Layman urged the school to come up with a new model to compensate administrators. Some on the board agreed with her even though they voted for this latest increase.
"I also don't think a flat increase for the administration is the right direction," said board President John Phelan. "I do think we need to work in the coming year on a compensation philosophy to give our administration greater direction as to how we want our administrators compensated."
Phelan added that he'd like to see salaries based on the market and using incentives when the board thinks it is warranted.
"I think that's the type of direction that's been lacking and that's the kind of philosophy we need to put together over the course of the coming year," he said.
Newly-elected board members Jeff Weissglass and Steve Gevinson agreed a new "philosophy" is needed.
The board last week also approved 2.5 percent increases for "non-affiliated" personnel, which include support staff. Patchak-Layman voted against those increases as well for the same reason.