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Pottsgrove Administrative Salary Costs Up 9.8 Percent

POTTSTOWN PA – The collective costs of top-level salaries in the Pottsgrove School District during the 2014-2015 academic year will exceed $1.82 million, according to administrative pay schedules presented and authorized without comment Tuesday night (Aug. 26, 2014) during two separate votes by the Board of School Directors.

The amount represents a 9.8-percent increase over last year’s stated total of $1.64 million, but it is not an apples-to-apples comparison because this year’s salary lists differ substantially from last year.

In the first vote, eight board members – director Diane Cherico was absent – unanimously approved what were called “executive administrative salaries” for the district’s three highest-paid employees: Superintendent Shellie Feola, Assistant Superintendent Dr. William Shirk, and Business Administrator David Nester. Together they will earn $490,323 between Sept. 1 (2014) and Aug. 31 (2015).

In the second vote – on salaries for 12 so-called “Act 93” employees including principals, assistant principals and some directors – board members divided 7-1, with Rick Rabinowitz opposed. He did not publicly explain his decision. Together they will earn $1,339,079 over the next 12 months.

Act 93 refers to a section of the Pennsylvania Public School Code, passed in 1949, that in part spells out how “compensation plans for school administrators” will be handled and disclosed.

The lists, with a combined total of $1,829,402 and ordered by descending salary amounts, include:

  • Feola, $178,412, up 2.1 percent from $174,642 last year;
  • Nester, $157,123, up 1.5 percent from $154,801;
  • Shirk, $154,788;
  • High School Principal William Ziegler, $136,680, up 2 percent from $134,000;
  • Lower Pottsgrove Elementary Principal Yolanda Williams, $134,212, up 2 percent from $131,580;
  • Director of Technology Michael Wagman, $128,430, up 3 percent from $124,689;
  • Director of Curriculum and Assessment Daniel Vorhis, $127,500;
  • Middle School Principal David Ramage, $120,287, up 4.6 percent from $115,000;
  • West Pottsgrove Elementary Principal Terri Koehler, $111,738, unchanged;
  • Ringing Rocks Elementary Principal Lisa Jones, $110,923, up 5.6 percent from $105,000;
  • High School Assistant Principal Jeff Madden, $110,374, up 3.8 percent from $106,301;
  • Director of Facilities Michael Katzenmoyer, $104,509, up 4.8 percent from $99,722;
  • Middle School Assistant Principal Christopher Becker, $97,462;
  • Elementary Assistant Principal Steven Sieller, $79,106; and
  • High School Dean of Students Todd Van Horn, $77,858, up 3 percent from $75,543.

The salary amounts do not include other benefits.

A comparison of the district’s entire administrative salary overhead between this year and last seems complicated by several factors.

  • Shirk’s $154,788 position in the executive suite is an addition. It formerly was occupied by Feola, and went vacant since December 2012. Shirk was hired in November 2013 at a starting annual salary of $152,000. Effective Monday (Sept. 1) his pay will have risen 1.8 percent after nine months in the job.
  • The 2014-2015 Act 93 list does not include the salary of former Director of Pupil Services Ann Myers, who retired earlier this year. She earned $126,719 during 2013-2014. It also excludes the cost of Myers’ interim successor, Dr. Sylvia Sanfillipo-Cohn, who earlier this month was appointed by the board as “acting director of pupil services.” Sanfillipo-Cohn is considered a contractor, not a salaried employee. She will be paid at a rate of $80 hourly, or an equivalent annualized (52 40-hour weeks) cost of $166,400 … $39,681 more than Myers.
  • The Act 93 list similarly excludes the 2013-2014 salary ($103,897) of former Supervisor of Special Education Michelle MacLuckie, who left the district last month for another position. Her replacement has not been hired but is being sought. The board this month agreed to pay $450 daily for three days a week, or the equivalent annualized cost of $70,200, to the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit as a contractor to temporarily oversee special education activities until MacLuckie’s successor is named.
  • Vorhis, whose $127,500 title did not exist last year, is an Act 93 addition. His predecessor, Dr. Barbara Burke-Stevenson – who served under the title “interim director of education” – was considered a contractor. She was paid at a rate of $600 per day, or an equivalent annualized (52 5-day weeks) cost of $156,000. Vorhis was hired in April 2014 at a starting annual salary of $125,000. Effective Monday his pay will have risen 2 percent after four months in the job.
  • At $79,106, Seiller in December 2013 succeded former Elementary Assistant Principal Maryann Johnson, who retired. She earned $85,335 during 2013-2014.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Aug. 26 meeting):

Other coverage:

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