A conversation over school staff salaries and contracts boiled over into one of the more heated discussions in recent years by the Marshalltown School Board Monday.
As salary increases of 3.59 percent for the administrative staff and Superintendent Marvin Wade were brought for approval by the board, members were fractured on their feelings.
Board member Sherm Welker felt the entire board did not know enough about the exact administrative salary increase before the vote, saying he thought they set out last year to target a 3 percent raise. When he found out these salary increases would force the district to dip a little into cash reserves for the next year, it rattled him even more as he said the district shouldn't spend more money than it takes in.
"I think there needed to be more conversation and I think we need to change the way we do things," said Welker, who abstained from voting on the administrative contracts.
The rest of the board voted in favor of the increase in administrative staff pay, which will cost the district an additional $120,540 for next year.
Two board members, Jason Jablonski and John Johnson, voted against Wade's contract approval because it was for three years. Jablonski said he did not like tying up a half million dollars in district money over the three years on the contract. It passed with a 5-2 vote. Wade has worked on a three-year rolling contract for the past few years.
With the approval, Wade's salary will be increased from $164,430 to $169,988 annually beginning July 1 and his three-year contract was extended to June 30, 2015.
Board member Anne Paullus seem displeased that it wasn't a unanimous vote in approval of Wade's contract, who she said is doing his job well.
"I am very disappointed that we couldn't come together as a board on this," Paullus said. "It just makes me sick."
Paullus even asked Johnson why he voted against the contract and he said a three-year contract "weakens the position as a board."
After the meeting, Wade said he is pleased with what he's been able to accomplish in the district the past four years with more work ahead.
"I feel real comfortable with where we are going as a district," Wade said.
The next regular meeting of the board will be at 5 p.m. July 9 at district offices.