NAdams 2% pay hikes okayed

    Going green at the North Adams Community Schools will have a slightly different meaning for administrators, non-certified personnel, and transportation department employees as the North Adams School Board approved a two percent pay increase on their base salary.
    The action approved Tuesday night at the monthly NA board meeting will result in approximately $50,000 more, but Superintendent Dr. Wylie Sirk told members that money for the increase is already in the general fund and will not cause a problem.
    The only debate on the pay hikes came on the proposal for the raise for Transportation and Facilities and Grounds Director Larry Carty, who also serves as the business manager for North Adams. Sirk noted that Carty has assumed additional duties since joining the North Adams team several years ago and the debate centered around whether his increase would be more than the two percent given to other administrators.
    Carty's raise was decided on a separate motion from other administrators and after a prolonged discussion, the board approved a similar hike of two percent for him.
    The professional staff at North Adams (teachers) were not involved in this round of pay discussions by the board.
    Board members noted those receiving a pay increase have gone without raises since 2005.  Board member Ben Faurote called the action "finding a way to stay competitive" and as "finding a way to reward employees who are deserving."
    There was some comparison with other area school districts in regards to pay. Board president Tim Ehlerding noted, "Can we open up our crystal ball and see what our financial picture will be? No. Can we make assumptions based on what we have now? Yes."
    Member Don Elder said, "You work with what you have at the time you have it. You can't worry about your neighbor."
    Another member, Michelle Stimpson, emphasized that although the discussion Tuesday night was about administrative, transportation, and non-certified personnel, "we certainly don't want to overlook our teachers. They all do a fabulous job, day in and day out."
    The raised passed Tuesday night will go into effect on July 1.