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Pleasant Valley OKs 3.5% pay hike for Piperato

Published August 23. 2019 12:49PM

Pleasant Valley School District’s top administrator is getting a pay raise following a split vote at Thursday night’s school board meeting.

Approved by a 5-3 vote, the motion calls for superintendent David Piperato to receive a 3.5% salary increase.

Sue Kresge, Kenneth Cocuzzo, Russell Gould, Daniel Wunder and Robert Serfass voted in favor of the pay raise.

Before the vote, Cocuzzo read a list of reasons he supported the raise for Piperato.

“He spearheaded this board’s efforts to reform how Pleasant Valley operates, he restored integrity and equitable practices that have brought about a positive culture change. He resisted attempts to distract from the mission of reshaping Pleasant Valley into a 21st century school district. He recruited top and independent talent for our depleted administrative ranks, and he recommended and implemented programs and systems that will enhance the Pleasant Valley community.”

Piperato was hired before the 2017-18 school year at a salary of $155,000. His contract at the time called for annual salary increases no less than 2% per year for 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Last August, he also received a 3.5 percent raise for the 2018-19 school year, which passed by a 6-3 vote.

Voting no on Thursday were Donna Yozwiak, Len Peeters, and Laura Jecker.

Delbert Zacharias was absent.

Jecker said she objected not to the salary, but to the amount of the increase.

“This is a personnel issue and Mr. Piperato is well aware of my recommendations on this subject,” Yozwiak said of her no vote after the meeting.

Math coach

The school board also voted Thursday to advertise for a math coach for the middle/high school level. In June, it voted to add a math coach who would cover the elementary/intermediate buildings.

Board President Sue Kresge said she was in favor of the second math coach so the district was not leaving some of its students out to dry.

“They are all our students,” Kresge said. “I don’t see how we could say we’re going to add a coach at the elementary level and not at the secondary level.”

The elementary coach was posted and district officials said there is one candidate, but they had not been interviewed yet for a variety of reasons including waiting to see what the board decided about a second coach.

The motion to add a second coach passed by a 6-3 vote with Jecker, Peeters and Yozwiak voting against it.

Both Peeters and Yozwiak said they were in favor of hiring remedial math teachers instead of math coaches.

Piperato, however, said district mathematics supervisor Shavonne Liddic said coaches serve a different purpose than math specialists.

“The district has around 12 math specialists now,” Liddic said. “The math specialists are working with small groups of students, but the coaches are more for the teachers to help them look at the best ways to present material to the students.”

A math coach, Piperato said in June, costs around $90,000, including salary and benefits.

“Where previously we thought adding two coaches would have required dipping into our capital reserve fund, we have now seen some savings from resignations and this is now budget neutral,” Piperato said.

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