VIGO CO., Ind. (WTWO.WAWV)– Plans to increase the pay and responsibilities of the Vigo County School Corporation’s head of communication has been scrapped.
The new role for the current head of communication, Bill Riley, was created to grow enrollment and retain the number of existing students.
VCSC superintendent, Dr. Rob Haworth, said Riley’s current position is manager level and pays $87,000 a year. The new position he would have held, if approved, was a director level and duties would have included growing and retaining the number of students. This position would pay at least $127,000.
Haworth acknowledged the the plan met backlash from the community. A demonstration against the move was organized on social media.
According to Haworth, the decision to increase Riley’s pay and duties came after a school board meeting on Dec. 14 when a discussion was held about declining student enrollment.
The amount of students living in Vigo County but not enrolled in VCSC is a potential loss of $5.6 million of state funding.
Haworth says he believes the expansion of Riley’s duties would have increased enrollment.
“The excellence, innovation and creativity shown by our current head of communications is why I thought he could lead the initiative moving forward,” Haworth said.
He says it is too early to know who or what can fix the declining enrollment problem.
Haworth did announce a plan to improve communication among the school board and public.
He is proposing that the first school board meeting of every month be a public works meeting. Things such as job descriptions, policy development and student enrollment will be discussed those days.
“I believe that would improve communication around all issues. Both internal and external,” Haworth said.
He is meeting the school board president on Tuesday to discuss this change to board meetings.
Demonstrators met outside the Vigo County School Corporation administration building Monday and marched along Wabash Avenue.
They were demonstrating against the move to change the pay rate for Vigo County Schools’ head of communications.
The demonstrators met around 4 P.M. while holding up signs and marching down Wabash Avenue to the County Courthouse.
“Rescinding the offer doesn’t delete the fact that this happened, and certainly for this to be announced right after schools were closed for break, all of it felt like that a slap in the face,” said Melissa Ketner, demonstration organizer.
Although plans to change the pay rate and add extra duties to the position were cancelled, organizers say teacher pay still remains an issue.
“I do think that based on the request of some folks who are here, that they wanted to still meet today and make sure that this is a movement and not just a moment in time, that we are calling attention to the greater issue here which is teacher pay and staff pay.” Ketner said.
Ketner says it’s important to support teachers and school staff, especially during the pandemic.