Plum School District administrators receive bonuses, salary increases
Administrators in the Plum School District have received salary increases for the 2014-15 school year.
The Plum School Board earlier this month approved the increases totaling about $87,000 for administrators including building principals and other department heads.
Superintendent Timothy Glasspool last year took a wage freeze for the remainder of his contract that expires on June 30, 2015. School board members each year evaluate the administrators and reach a consensus on the amount of salary increases.
Included in the $87,000 are one-time bonuses of $3,975 for Glasspool, $3,274 for assistant Superintendent Guy Rossi; $3,150 for Eugene Marraccini, director of business affairs and $2,435 for Michael Brewer, director of administrative services.
Also, the board approved a new four-year contract for Rossi that increases his salary from $111,323 at the beginning of the school year to $127,500 on Jan. 1, 2015.
Plum School Board President Sal Colella said he felt the salary bump was justified because Rossi was “underpaid.”
The average salary for an assistant superintendent in the 2013-14 school year was $125,507, according to the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.
“He is an integral part of the school district,” Colella said. “He is a leader when it comes to curriculum.”
Colella also said the administrative staff is “very lean.”
“We don't have an assistant business manager or a CPA (certified public accountant),” Colella said.
Board member Richard Zucco also endorsed the one-time bonuses for Glasspool, Rossi, Marraccini and Brewer.
“These four people are doing exemplary work,” Zucco said.
The $87,000 also includes “catch-up” salary increases totaling $7,129 for Ryan Kociela, high school principal; Joseph Fishell, Oblock Junior High School principal; Jason Knisely, Adlai Stevenson Elementary principal; and Scott Mergen, transportation supervisor.
Colella said the catch-up pay was calculated based on average salaries on the Pennsylvania School Boards Association website.
Prior to the board's vote on the administrative raises, Oblock math teacher David Gray outlined the increases for Glasspool, Rossi, Marraccini and Brewer.
“I'm not here to attack pay raises for administrators,” Gray said. “Contracts are iron clad. Everyone deserves a pay raise if they do a good job.”
Gray, though, said he questioned why the district is spending less on teacher salaries in the 2014-15 school year.
Gray said $21,141,011 was spent in the 2013-14 school year and $20,764,018 — or $376,993 less — was budgeted for 2014-15.
Marraccini said the district spent $20,976,252 on teacher salaries in the 2013-14 school year with $20,764,018 budgeted for 2014-15.
The district's total budget is $58.3 million.
“It's minus 1.8 percent,” Gray said concerning the teacher salary numbers he quoted.
Gray's salary will be $99,800 in the 2014-15 school year, according to district numbers. He was paid $74,600 in the first year of the contract (2009-10 school year) that expires Aug. 31.
Colella said less money is budgeted for teacher salaries this year because of retirements.
“Teachers retired, and we replace them with teachers who are making less,” Colella said.
Colella emphasized that Plum's teachers are being paid the same salaries in the 2014-15 school year as they did in the previous year.
District officials and the Plum Borough Education Association that represents the district's 268 teachers are in contract negotiations.
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.