When John Oliver took over the job as interim superintendent of Bryan County Schools, it didn’t come with a pay raise.
The Bryan County Board of Education changed that Thursday.
After a 90-minute executive session, school board members voted unanimously to give Oliver a combined $24,000 in supplements and travel allowance between now and the end of next school year.Oliver will get $4,000 for the school year just completed, which will hike his compensation to $113,747 from the $109,247 he made as second-in-command of the school system under former superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer.
Oliver will keep his $109,247 salary through the 2009-2010 school year while getting a $14,000 supplement and $5,000 for travel, increasing his total compensation to $128,247 according to Bryan County Schools Chief Finance Officer Melanie James.
Oliver had no comment, but school board Chairman Eddie Warren did.
"This is compensation for the additional duties and responsibilities he has taken on while doing the job of superintendent, and for the additional duties and responsibilities he will continue to perform," Warren said. "He’s done an excellent job."
The BoE tabbed Oliver to replace Brewer after buying out her contract in February following a 4-3 vote.
Oliver also has been asked to stay through next school year while the BoE searches for a full time replacement. He has not said whether he will apply for the job.
Brewer was making $145,589 in 2008, according to open.georgia.gov, a website which tracks salaries of state and local officials. Her $253,000 buyout, which included more than $60,000 in unused vacation time, covered the remainder of the 2008-2009 school year and next year.
Thursday’s action followed discussion on how to cover what could be a larger than projected $1.5 million hole in the system’s 2010 fiscal year budget, which starts July 1. That deficit, caused by a combination of dwindling state funding and the ailing economy, would be larger were it not for more than $1 million in federal stimulus funds, James said.
To make matters more uncertain, there are concerns whether the state will impose further austerity cuts. Since 2003, Bryan County has lost some $6 million in state funding, James said.
Among proposals to cover the shortfall are cutting some $5.5 million to transfers to a capital projects reserve and reducing through attrition the number of parapros in certain programs. In addition, Oliver said the schools will have to increase class size to the state mandated maximum, which varies depending on the grade and subject. Though officials have looked for ways to avoid a tax hike, the idea was broached by first term BoE member Charlie Johnson.
"Increasing the millage rate is something we at least have to have on the table," Johnson said. "If we don’t we may be hurting. We have to be up front with taxpayers about this."
BoE member Mary Warnell suggested they wait to see whether Bryan County increases its millage rate.
"If they do, it’s going to be a double whammy on taxpayers," she said.
Overall, the schools operate on a budget of more than $50 million.