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School board rewards administrators with raises


Carl Smith



Citing high evaluations and increased workloads associated with 2015's upcoming school consolidation, Starkville School District Board of Trustees members approved 5-percent raises for Superintendent Lewis Holloway and Assistant Superintendents Toriano Holloway and Jody Woodrum following closed-door discussions Tuesday. 


The raises account for a combined $21,000 and was passed unanimously by the board. Lewis Holloway's salary will increase from $175,000 to $183,750, while Woodrum's pay jumped $6,500 to $136,500. Toriano Holloway, who intermittently led Starkville High School after Principal Keith Fennell left the district this year, was given a $5,750 raise to $120,750 annually. 


School board members evaluated the three administrators earlier this year, but tending to the raises was delayed as consolidation talks continued in Jackson. 


Tuesday's discussions were taken to executive session as personnel matters and were not listed on the SSD agenda. 


School Board President Lee Brand said each administrator has performed to the best of his or her abilities and continue to improve SSD. Each employee, he said, stepped up to new challenges, like the upcoming consolidation and Toriano Holloway's SHS leadership, as they emerged. 


"The evidence is before us that we have a good team of administrators. The raises are a token in good faith to show them that we see their hard work, especially with new things coming into the mix," Board President Lee Brand said. "This team puts us in place to be a great district. We feel like we have the greatest team assembled in the state." 


The district was rated as a "C" district at the time of Holloway's hiring and has continued to be rated as a "C" since. 


Holloway was among the highest-paid superintendents in the state when he was hired prior to the 2012-13 school year. 


While the trio of administrators will see their salaries increase and the Mississippi Legislature previously approved teacher pay raises this term, SSD has not executed an across-the-board pay raise for non-teachers since a 5-percent increase for the 2011-2012 school year. However, incremental raises since 2002-2003 increased those salaries a combined 39.5 percent since 2001, SSD documents show. 


Employee raises occurred each year from the 2002-2003 school year to the 2007-2008 session. Those ranges ranged from 3.5 percent to 8 percent. 


Brand said the school board will have to turn its attention to pay increases for other employees sometime in the future. 


"When you look at a district like ours, there are so many parts to it that make it work. We have to pick a place to start," he said referring to Tuesday's action, "but it's not an end-all to what's needed. 


"We'll have to look at making decisions and moving forward in the future to take care of all our employees," Brand added.


Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch



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