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Bad timing means no raise for Industrial superintendent

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Sept. 9, 2013 at 4:09 a.m.
Updated Sept. 10, 2013 at 4:10 a.m.

Industrial High School's students walk to the school buses and to their cars after  school Monday. Tony Williams, superintendent of Industrial school district, did not get a pay raise this year.

When pay raises went into effect in August, Industrial school district employees were issued a much-anticipated raise.

Raises had been issued sparingly the previous budget year and not at all the year before that.

But one Industrial employee went without a pay increase for the 2013-14 school year - the district's chief, Superintendent Tony Williams.

Williams and School Board President Missy Klimitchek said the raise was withheld not because of a performance issue but, rather, a timing issue with Williams' contract.

"We would have loved to give him a raise, and we feel like he's doing an impeccable job. His work is important, and parents are flocking to our district because of our schools. But our hands were tied," Klimitchek said. "We didn't want to do something illegal."

Klimitchek explained Williams is the only staffer in the district to have his performance review in January. The school board will meet with him to discuss his performance from the previous year, as well as any raise that may go into effect the following June, a month before other employees.

"Any salary increases would have been decided upon at that time," said Williams.

But at that time, the district was unaware that they would be issued an additional $1.2 million from the tax ratification election to put toward the operating budget, which included staff salaries. If there was money in the budget at that time, Williams said he likely would have been issued an additional $2,000 to his existing $104,000.

"At that time, funds were tight like a lot of the other districts in the area," Williams said.

But when the tax ratification funds came in, the board decided to issue the raises their teachers and staff had been waiting for and use additional money for other school necessities, such as transportation, technology and maintenance.

At the end of July, after receiving the money, Williams once again met with the school board to discuss implementing the raise.

But legally, the board couldn't issue a raise because it was past his evaluation time frame. There was discussion about having an attorney review a legal way to go about making Williams' raise retroactive, but the board and Williams decided they would wait until January to discuss another raise.

"I'm very satisfied with my salary. It's a very good salary, and it's the most I've earned in my lifetime," Williams, who has been an employee of the district for 18 years, said. "I didn't want the board to have to finagle some way to find a loophole just so I could get a raise. It wasn't worth it to me."

Klimitchek said the pay raises went into effect in August, and when Williams has his evaluation in January, he will be reviewed for a pay raise.

"We will reward him for the job performance he's done," she said, mentioning any raises issued will only reflect the past year and will not be compounded from the previous year. "We did not mean to alert anyone that we weren't satisfied with (Williams). That's just not the case."

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