Bonuses of the director of the school of Massillon

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be out of date. Please look at the timestamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MASSILLON, Ohio (WJW) — Some local teachers are speaking out against their school board for approving federal COVID-19 relief funds to give bonuses to dozens of administrators.

Members of the Massillon Education Association say the money should have been used directly to help students overcome barriers created by the pandemic.

“The vote shows us one thing, and that is that our school board and our superintendent valued themselves above any student, staff member, parent or teacher in the district,” spokeswoman Alyssa Plakas said.

On Wednesday evening, the members of the Massillon school board unanimously approved the granting of approximately $140,000 in bonuses to 31 administrators. The money comes from an allocation of more than $5.6 million in federal COVID relief funds for schools.

“They have emergency relief funds that are supposed to be used to fill the learning gaps that have developed due to the pandemic, but instead they have decided to pay for themselves – who are already the highest paid employees in the district,” Plakas said.

In a statement, Superintendent Paul Salvino says the district has allocated and will continue to allocate millions of dollars to the district for items such as 4,200 new Chromebooks, increased teacher salaries for after-school programs and the summer, district-wide class technology and software upgrades, and cleaning/disinfection supplies and other PPE to combat the current pandemic, among others.

“We have so much more need than they may be planning for later, but using $140,000 today is not the goal of federal funding. There was no extra staff to help the teachers, there was no extra training on how to deal with mental health issues,” Plakas said.

Superintendent Salvino says it’s not unusual for administrators to work longer hours than expected, but says the ten days extra pay dates back to March 2020.

He added: “The pandemic and our need to deal with the reopening of the ’20-’21 school year as well as maintaining an All-In learning model 5 days a week throughout the school year took an even longer time for these Tasks.”

“I hope they return that money and reserve it for our students,” Plakas said.

The superintendent says preparation and planning has allowed schools in Massillon to remain open throughout the school year.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the superintendent, the teachers’ union said it was not downplaying the work done by the administrative team, but said all employees had been burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Martha K. Merrill