BELOIT — The School District of Beloit Board of Education did not approve proposed administrator pay raises and had a split vote when approving the contract with newly appointed interim Superintendent Daniel Keyser at its Tuesday evening meetings.
The board approved its personnel recommendations with the omission of raises for four administrators in a 6-1 vote. John Wong was the only board member to vote in favor of the raises, saying they would have helped Beloit be competitive with other districts and prevent it from losing staff. Wong noted the raises were already incorporated into the budget.
However, other board members disagreed.
“I just think they are excessive,” Board member Stephanie Jacobs said.
The proposed raises were as follows: Athletic Director Joel Beard, $99,583 to $110,000; Director of Equity, Bilingual and Alternative Education Anthony Bosco, $102,762 to $115,000; Director of Career and Technical Education Mitchell Briesemeister, $92,167 to $110,000; and Director of Early Literacy Rachelle Elliott, $92,196 to $110,000.
The four administrators were among seven who had their pay raises rescinded under the administration of former Superintendent Stanley Munro in December 2019 because they hadn’t gone through the proper authorization process.
In an interview Wednesday morning, Board President Kyle Larsen said the board wanted to see an equity pay plan for all employee groups in the district, not just administrators.
Larsen noted the equity raises proposed Tuesday would have been retroactive. However, he said the four administrators had already received increased pay for about half of the year when Munro gave the original pay increase without proper board authorization. The increases earned during that time were never credited back to the district.
The board also approved a contract for Keyser to serve as interim superintendent in a 5-2 vote. It’s a one-year contract starting July 1 with a $145,000 salary.
Megan Miller and Amiee Leavy voted against it.
Leavy read the following statement regarding her vote: “The work that lies ahead for the board includes, but is not limited to, re-examining how students are evaluated for services such as 504s and IEPs (individual education plans), how we manage discipline once we are reopened, how the expulsion process is handled as well as issues of inclusion and access for our students.
In order to serve all of our students well, we will need to take an honest look and address issues of implicit bias, institutional racism and equity. With emphasis on the concerns that I just outlined, I do not believe that Dr. Keyser is the best fit for our district. With that being said, if the board votes to install Dr. Keyer I will work with the board and administration to make decisions that are in the best interest of students, families, our staff and our community. As we move forward it’s important for me to provide context for my vote this evening.”
The school district will continue its search for a permanent superintendent.
Tuesday’s meeting also included a presentation on survey results regarding school reopening this fall. About 60-70% percent of parents surveyed said they were comfortable sending their kids to in-person school while up to a third said they were uncomfortable. Another Rock County superintendent’s survey was sent out Tuesday for additional input to be completed by families by the end of June.
Larsen said Green will be bringing a proposal to the board in late July or early August for the board to approve regarding school reopening in the fall. There are three options which could be approved, full-time online, a hybrid of online and in-person learning and full in-person learning with safety restrictions.
Ten school district superintendents including Green have been regularly meeting to discuss safe reopening scenarios. The decision for the 10 school districts in Rock County will likely be heavily based on the most recent survey. The 10 districts will use the data to come up with one county plan which the 10 superintendents will bring to their boards for approval, Larsen said.