Lakewood contracts approved this time
HEBRON – An earlier tie vote that scuttled a recommendation to approve contracts for Lakewood School District administrative and exempt staff members, and certified staff members turned into a 4-1 approval at a special school board meeting last Friday.
This time all board members, except for Joe Bowman Jr., approved the recommended contracts. During the board’s April meeting, Bowman and board member Rob Large voted against the recommended contracts, board member Forrest Cooperrider and board President Judy White voted in favor, and board member Trisha Good was absent. The tie vote meant the contracts were not approved. Friday morning, Good was present and voted “yes” and Large reversed his earlier “no” vote.
“There was a lot of discussion in between the two votes,” said Superintendent Jay Gault, who was unable to explain further because the discussion took place in executive session, meaning what was discussed during the session is unavailable to the public. Gault said the district personnel committee reviewed the contracts fol- lowing the regular April meeting, and returned them to the board in their original form. “Not one thing changed,” said Gault.
Bowman said he’ll likely comment about the contracts and the vote in the future, but is withholding comment for now. Previously, he said disapproving the contracts was a “no-brainer,” and added, “We are starting contract negotiations, (Senate Bill 5) is in its infant stages, we have to reduce our health care expense dramatically, and we are looking at a $5.5 million dollar deficit in 2015. This is not the time to issue five-year contracts to administrators, for example, where the value of the health care benefit alone could be worth $75,000 over a five year period for one!”
Large could not be reached for comment.
Cooperrider said it’s been difficult to ensure everyone on staff is treated fairly when there are so many unknown variables looming on the horizon, such as Senate Bill 5. “We’re in a real quandary in how to proceed,” he said.
The Lakewood School Board’s May meeting is on a special date: Thursday, May 12, 6:30 p.m. at Lakewood High School Library.