Superintendent supplement off the table

Nick Blank
Posted 9/12/18

FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County School District board member Mary Bolla withdrew Superintendent Addison Davis’ request for a nearly $30,000 pay supplement from the board’s agenda Thursday prior to …

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Superintendent supplement off the table

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County School District board member Mary Bolla withdrew Superintendent Addison Davis’ request for a nearly $30,000 pay supplement from the board’s agenda Thursday prior to the meeting.

Davis requested the option to receive a $28,900 salary supplement. The timing of the supplement request, combined with a recent millage increase, approved by voters Aug. 28, had led to speculation from some the community the tax increase was used for pay raises.

Bolla cited the district’s rise in state rankings, from 18th to eighth and jump from “B” to “A” as evidence to review Davis’ salary. She said it was appropriate to have the conversation in a workshop at a later date. Bolla said Davis’ salary should be reviewed annually and board members had not had the discussion since Davis was elected almost two years ago.

“The ‘A’ is great. We know we’re an ‘A’ county,” Bolla said. “But eighth in the state and climbing, we owe it him to review his salary.”

Past superintendents had received the supplements since the late 1980s, beginning with Ann Wiggins. The first year the supplement was granted, it was $3,000 and over years grew to be as high as $28,900. The last superintendent to receive the supplement was Charlie Van Zant Jr. until the board enacted a policy change in 2014 requiring the superintendent to approve the supplement from the board annually.

Wiggins attended the Sept. 6 board meeting and spoke out against the timing of the supplement. She praised improvements made by the district in the two years, but recommended the superintendent earn a pay increase in line with an increase for teachers and support staff.

“Most opposition came from people claiming the money was for pay raises,” Wiggins said.

She said the timing of the millage increase with the supplement decision may make voters wary if another half-cent tax is levied to improve school district’s infrastructure in the future.

“I’m happy it was pulled from the agenda,” she said.

The supplement is an annual budget item the school board must vote on each year, though it used to be approved automatically. During the Aug. 27 agenda workshop meeting, staff mentioned Davis’ pay was low compared to surrounding counties’ superintendents and $28,900 was an adequate number.

Davis earns about $134,480 a year, about $25,000 shy of St. Johns, Alachua, Flagler and Marion counties’ superintendents.

Davis said the decision was ultimately the will of the board. He said he felt the supplement was fair related to the pay of other superintendents throughout the state.

“Looking at surrounding counties, you want to make certain there’s parity in the work and we’ll just continue to be competitive,” Davis said. “From my side of it, I’m going to continue to work hard every day for kids, that’s my mission. We have a lot of work to do and that will be what we focus on.”

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