McDonald schools OK contract with treasurer’s increase

McDONALD — The McDonald Board of Education by a 4-1 vote on Wednesday granted a new three-year contract to school district treasurer Megan Titus, who will receive a 9.5 percent pay increase over three years.

Titus, who was hired in May 2018 on a one-year contract as a full-time treasurer at $60,000, will receive $63,000 for the 2019-20 year, $64,417 for the 2020-21 year and $65,866 for the 2021-22 year.

Board members Jody Klase and John Saganich said the pay increases were bringing Titus’ salary in line with many other similar-size districts, noting she was hired at a lower pay her first year.

Board member Thomas Hannon, who cast the “no” vote, said he thinks Titus is doing a good job as treasurer, but he felt 9.5 percent over three years was very high, considering other district administrators and teachers did not receive the same increases.

Hannon said there is concern with finances with a renewal levy passing this month by only one vote and job losses resulting from the idling of the General Motors plant in Lordstown.

The Trumbull County Board of Elections is scheduled to certify the results of the May 7 election Tuesday.

“I can’t support a raise like this. It absolutely does not make sense. This is not good business,” he said.

Board member Joseph Cappuzzello said he felt Titus’ starting pay for her first year was low.

“It was a modest salary to start with,” Saganich said, noting the $3,000 first-year increase would bring her pay in line with other treasurers.

“She does a great job, but there is a double standard here with other employees not receiving such increases. It is setting a precedence,” Hannon said.

Titus, a certified public accountant, filled the position with the retirement last year of part-time treasurer William Johnson.

McDonald has had a part-time treasurer for a number of years, but the board has always talked about transitioning back to full time.

In another matter, Superintendent Kevin O’Connell said work by Steel Valley Contracting of Austintown is continuing to clear cut trees from the planned location for a new athletic complex off West Second Street.

The board this spring had approved $21,600 for the chipping and removal of trees for the athletic track complex and playing fields for soccer and baseball. This was the second phase of the project that will prepare the site for construction to begin in late summer or early fall.

O’Connell said surveying work of the property will be done after trees are removed and will not take more than a week or two. He said any modifications of the project that need to be made will be presented to the board this summer.

“The final surveying work will be done before we start moving any dirt by the end of summer,” O’Connell said.

The district’s track by the high school does not have enough lanes available to meet standards for official competitions and is only used for practice and gym classes.

The 35-acre site is near McDonald Avenue Extension and Olive Street, between Second and Third streets. The needed environmental and soil testing is complete, and mineral and oil rights issues have been addressed.

The board has been working with GPD Group Architects of Akron to review both the new site and the current athletic complex by the high school, which has both a football field and stadium constructed in the 1950s. That site will continue to be used for football games.

Officials also have discussed needed improvements at the football stadium, including installation of new lighting, repairs to deteriorated sections of the stadium, addition of a new concession stand and restrooms, and the addition of sections compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Voters in 2016 approved a 5-mill emergency levy to support a new athletic complex with about $2 million left that can cover improvements.