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Schools leader up for pay increase

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Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp. Superintendent Kathy Griffey is up for a 3.4 percent raise and a contract extension.

Griffey’s salary would increase to $103,441, an increase of $3,441 per year, under the proposed contract, which would be extended one year to July 31, 2015.

The new contract also adds 20 work days per year, increases the number of vacation days to 20 and requires Griffey to pursue reasonable professional development opportunities.

The board will vote on the contract during a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but school board president Andy Hunnicutt said he has every intention of keeping Griffey until she is ready to retire, although he cannot speak for the entire five-member board.

Although Griffey, 66, is at an age she could retire if she wanted to, she said she does not have any specific plans in place.

“Working with kids and people is an invigorating environment full of challenges and rewards,” she said.

A few parents attended a public hearing last week to gather testimony about the superintendent’s proposed contract.

One voiced a concern that the board was not listening to public comments, referring to an earlier public hearing on academic challenges at Hope Elementary School.

Hope was named a priority school by the state Department of Education after earning an F and then a D in the state A-F Accountability program. As a result, the school is required to take several steps to demonstrate to the public and the state that improvement plans are in place. About 100 residents showed up at the Feb. 10 public hearing, revealing turmoil among parents, teachers and administrators.

Another parent last week asked the board to put the recommended salary increase for Griffey in perspective.

Hunnicutt called the raise modest and sustainable. It would be Griffey’s first since arriving at the district in 2010, and Hunnicutt said she is still making less than some high school principals across the state.

Before coming to Flat Rock-Hawcreek, Griffey had climbed the educational ladder at Northwestern High School in Kokomo, gaining experience as a dean, counselor, assistant principal/athletics director and principal. She later moved into a district role and worked as assistant superintendent and then assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Comparing Griffey’s proposed salary to other small school districts in the area, “we were neither the highest nor the lowest, but we feel very comfortable with that,” Hunnicutt said.

Griffey earns more than the superintendent of Southwestern Consolidated School District, whose salary is $95,000, and less than the superintendent of Southeastern School Corp., whose salary is $105,000.

Griffey’s current contract runs from Aug. 1, 2011, to July 31, 2014.

While many districts across the state offer three- or five-year contracts to administrators, the Flat Rock-Hawcreek school board has proposed a shorter term.

“The real fallacy in this whole system is we take our (ISTEP+) tests soon, but we won’t get the results until this fall,” Hunnicutt said. “We won’t know until then if we’re in crisis mode or not.”

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