Group elects Buchholz chairwoman at meeting
Independent School District 834 Board members’ salaries will not increase this year after the group Thursday rejected an attempt to raise their pay.
The $5,000 salary for the board chairman and $4,400 salary for other board members of the board will remain at these same levels throughout this year after the board narrowly defeated a motion by George Hoeppner to raise salaries by $500.
Currently, the average salary for board members in the area is $5,642 for a board chairman and $5,073 for board directors on the board. Hoeppner, proposed raising the salaries for the ISD 834 board chairman and directors to $5,500 and $4,900 respectively.
“I’d like to make an amendment to the salary and I think I can do this, but I’d like to start with a little history,” Hoeppner said. “As a board we haven’t raised our salary since 1996. In that time, in terms of competitive salaries, we continue to get lower and lower in the standings with the average salary currently standing at $5,073. In that time a number of us have added 22 work sessions and additional weekly meetings to our time commitment. Though some people may say that if we go out for a levy we shouldn’t increase our salaries because it would look bad, I think reasonable people can look at the amount of work we do and understand that adjusting our salary going forward from $4,400 to $4,900 for board members and from $5,000 to $5,500 for board chair makes sense.”
Re-elected board member and new chairwoman Kathy Buchholz thanked Hoeppner for his input but disagreed with the proposal.
“I agree with you that we’ve added more hours and the addition of committees to our workload, but we did cut over $6 million last year, and we’ve just been through a teacher contract negotiation where they agreed to take a salary freeze for the next two years,” Buchholz said. “I appreciate you putting it out there and saying that, but at this time I simply can’t support it.”
Newly elected board member Amy Burback, who was sworn in Thursday evening, agreed with Buchholz.
“Even though I’m new, it just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do at this time,” Burback said.
Hoeppner’s motion was seconded by Natasha Fleischman but defeated in a 4-3 vote with Burback, Buchholz, Tom Lehmann, and Mike Ptacek dissenting. Natalie Fedie voted in favor of the motion.
Also at the meeting:
Board Member Tom Lehmann and Superintendent Corey Lunn administered the oath of office to Burback, Buchholz and Ptacek. While the board assigned board members to their leadership positions. The new positions include: Buchholz to board chair, Lehmann to vice chair, Hoeppner to clerk, and Natalie Fedie to treasurer.