Two newly elected board members, Jason Waters and Jeriene Grimes, along with the five incumbents, were sworn in to office by Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harris Hines.
The change would raise take-home pay for teachers with zero to three years of experience from $38,500 annually to $40,500. Superintendent Emily Lembeck said the increase would enable Marietta to better compete with surrounding districts and would allow the district to attract the best teaching staff possible.
“I fully support the competitive starting salary. We want to attract the best and the brightest and this is one way to do that,” Chairman Randy Weiner said.
The pay raise would cost the system approximately $50,800 and come out of the general fund, which was $81.8 million in the 2014 school year budget, said Thomas Algarin, spokesman for the district.
MCS employs 619 teachers, Algarin said. The pay change would only apply to the roughly 60 to 70 teachers considered “beginning teachers,” and would take place in the 2014-15 school year, Algarin said.
Cobb County beginning teachers make $38,957 and those in Cherokee County make $41,500, according to information provided by Marietta City Schools.
The board will vote on the proposal at a meeting next week.
Weiner re-elected, but Bittner objects
Weiner was elected to serve as the chairman for the board for a third term. Board member Irene Berens nominated Weiner, and the board voted 6-1, with Brett Bittner opposed.
Weiner has served on the board since 2005, and previously served as chairman in 2010 and in 2013. The chair serves a year-long term, and represents the board in contact with the media and outside community, according to board policy. The chair earns an extra $100 each month, Weiner said, in addition to the $575 all board members are paid.
“I enjoy doing it. I’m willing to put in the work needed to be chair,” he said.
Board member Jill Mutimer nominated Berens to serve as vice chair, and the board voted 6-1, with Bittner opposed.
Bittner said he had some “issues” with Weiner’s leadership, and had wanted to see some changes with the way board meetings were led. He viewed Berens as an extension of the chairman, which is why he voted against her serving as vice chair.
Berens replaces Tom Cheater, who stepped down from the position because of a new job that requires a lot of travel, he said.
Berens, a dance teacher at the Marietta-based Georgia Dance Conservatory has been on the board for 14 years, she said, and is excited to serve as vice-chair for the second time. Berens previously served as chairwoman and vice-chair.
According to board policy, the duties of the vice-chair include serving in the absence of the chair, running meetings and speaking with the press, when the chair is not available. The chair receives no extra money for serving, Weiner said.
Tuesday’s board meeting was the first for newly elected board members Jason Waters and Jeriene Grimes. They were sworn in at a ceremony before the meeting. Waters, who works for SunTrust in Atlanta, replaced Tony Fasola, who did not run for re-election. Grimes, who works in the hospitality business, replaced Stuart Fleming, who was elected to the Marietta City Council.
The board will next meet Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. at the district’s central office, 250 Howard St., Marietta.
By the numbers
Current salary for beginning teachers
* Marietta City Schools: $38,500
* Cobb County Schools: $38,957
* Cherokee County Schools: $41,500