The Woodland Hills School Board on Wednesday voted to hire a school psychologist and two administrators, one of whose position was not included in the budget the board submitted to the state earlier this summer.
In a 6-3 vote, the board gave the go ahead to hire Kevin Murray as assistant principal at the high school at an $80,000 salary. The position wasn't included in this year's budget. Board President Marilyn Messina and members Colleen Filiak and Bob Tomasic dissented.
This year’s $81.8 million budget increased taxes by .56 mill—about $56 for a homeowner with a $100,000 property—and included furloughs for 10 staff members at the high school and several others at the middle and elementary schools. The budget also cut the Boyce Campus Middle College program.
“I did not vote for a millage increase ... so that I could try to get more jobs or higher salaries,” Messina said, mentioning the numerous cuts that went into balancing this year’s budget. “It’s not about the person; it’s about the money. Where is the money coming from?”
Echoing those sentiments, Filiak said the board can’t continue to stray from its spending plan.
“It should have been brought to the board in May or June,” Filiak said.
Murray had previously served as the high school’s dean of students and assistant to the principal since January 2009.
Board member Regis Driscoll alluded to “back-door promises” made between the administration and Murray before former superintendent Walter Calinger left this past May, when Alan Johnson filled in as substitute superintendent.
Driscoll defended the decision and attributed its delay to bureaucratic hang ups, rather than budgetary concerns.
The board also voted unanimously to hire Thomas J. McKelvey as an assistant principal who will split his time between Fairless Elementary and Woodland Hills Academy. A former third-grade teacher in the Beaver Area School District, McKelvey’s $59,000 salary will be funded by government grants.
A unanimous vote approved the hiring of Heather Stotsky as a school psychologist at a salary of $45,000. She most recently served as school psychologist and behavior specialist for the Sto-Rox School District.