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Board irked by last-minute salary hikes; withholds approval of admin raises

At their monthly meeting, May 10, Success Preparatory Academy board members approved teacher pay raises and new hires for next year, but postponed approving raises for administrators until the school’s finance committee has reviewed the details.

Board members expressed frustration with next year’s budget numbers, noting that they had approved an extra $100,000 to fund two new positions, but that the proposed budget calls for six new positions and exceeds the spending limit by $9,000.

Among the six new positions are a part-time speech therapist and a reading interventionist.

All proposed staff raises were presented and endorsed by co-principals Niloy Gangopadhyay and St. Claire Adriaan. They raise the outlay for salaries by 15 percent over what was spent this year.

Although they approved the new hires and teacher raises, board members said they would have liked to review the new positions and salaries earlier in the year, since commitment letters to teachers must be mailed out at the end of this month.

Board chairman Sassy Wheeler said this is the third year that school leaders presented a budget at the last minute with unexpected costs.

“To me, it’s like every year there’s an apology,” Wheeler said.

The board’s finance committee will discuss the proposed raises for school administrators before the matter is submitted to the full board for a vote at their June meeting.

In other business, Success Prep’s Special Education program got glowing reviews from the Recovery School District.

Adriaan and board members recognized Elizabeth Sullivan, Success Prep’s special education coordinator, for the strides she’s made in the program. “It was a very positive report,” Adriaan said.

In other business, board members were briefed on enrollment numbers for the coming school year. Gangopadhyay said 407 students have enrolled, two short of the goal. He added that siblings of current students should increase that number.

School leaders will continue efforts to increase kindergarten enrollment, and Gangopadhyay said he would visit Recovery School District parent centers to push Success Prep as a good school choice.

Next year, Success Prep will join a middle-school sports league, Adriaan reported.

In other business, member Nia Davis resigned from the board. The next meeting will be June 7.

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