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Dykes gets $12,000 raise

During a called meeting on June 1, members of the Washington County Board of Education voted to increase Ron Dykes’ salary by more than $12,000 for “exemplary service” in his role as director of schools.
“I think Mr. Dykes has done an overall excellent job in managing the school system and achieving the set goals and objectives,” said Chairman Phillip McLain during the review of Dykes’ annual evaluation.
Board members completed evaluations on Dykes, which were mailed to Nashville and compiled by the Tennessee School Boards Association. Dykes earned a 4.5 on a 5.0 rating scale, a higher score than he earned last year.
Dykes said his top three goals as director are student and faculty safety, fiscal responsibility, and excellence in instructional delivery.
He credited the successs of the system to tremendous teamsmanship and the hard work of his colleagues.
When Dykes was awarded the position in 2008, he was required to relinquish his tenure earned during 31 years in the system and instead serve on a contractual basis. Contract negotiations included a performance incentive that provides an annual bonus of up to 6 percent of his base salary, which is determined by his evaluation score.
“Adding the performance incentive resulted in a much more detailed evaluation with specific goals and objectives that are assigned a numeric value,” Dykes said. “The accountability was raised significantly.”
Board member David Hammond agreed.
“Mr. Dykes has had more responsibility than the previous director from the time he started,” Hammond said.
Dykes also inherited a budget deficit that now stands at an estimated $1.6 million.
Regardless of the performance bar being raised, however, Dykes began the job at a significantly lower salary.
“We told him he needed time to prove himself,” McLain said.
Dykes’ contract includes the standard provision that his position will be included in all systemwide pay increases, though none have been awarded during the last three years.
During the annual evaluation process, board members are allowed to recommend a salary increase and/or contract extension.
Dykes has three years left in his current contract. By state law, contracts are limited to four years for a director of schools, a position that is tantamount to chief executive officer.
Board member Clarence Mabe said the director sets the pace for the school system, and he has been impressed with the job Dykes has done.
Mabe made a motion to raise Dykes’ salary to that of the previous director, which would increase Dykes base pay from $98,000 to $110,456. Mary Lo Silvers seconded the motion.
Jack Leonard asked how the board would be able to justify to the community giving such a large increase.
“I could easily justify $12,000 out of a $63 million budget for a man who has earned it,” Mabe said.
Chad Williams said the salaries for the director of schools and school principals are two areas that have been neglected, resulting in lower compensation than surrounding school systems and in a statewide comparison.
“We can do better,” he said.
Board members approving the pay increase during the vote were Hammond, Mabe, Silvers, Williams and Bill Brinkley.
Voting against the raise were Leonard, Keith Ervin and Todd Ganger.
An additional expression of appreciation was given the following night during the monthly board of education meeting.
Jarrod Adams, supervisor of the Special Education Department, shared a video and recognized several Washington County students who competed and won medals in the Special Olympics held April 29 at East Tennessee State University.
“And once again, the only director in Northeast Tennessee who attended the Special Olympics was Mr. Dykes,” Adams said in his thanks to the board.