Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Changes atop Sarasota District

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Changes atop Sarasota District

Article excerpt


Sarasota County schools Chief Operating Officer Scott Lempe will get more responsibilities and a larger paycheck from his new role in the district.

With Human Resources Executive Director Mike Jones retiring, Lempe will oversee the HR department under the title of deputy superintendent starting July 1.

The change means Lempe is line for a 28 percent raise, to $171,307 during the 2014-15 school year.

Before Tuesday's meeting, Lempe said he had not been aware of what his new salary would be.

"That's not what it's about," he said. "... What motivates me is the ability to create an environment where kids and teachers can be successful."

Lempe said he was excited about his new post if he could do that in a "more meaningful way."

This school year, Lempe's base pay was $133,863, plus $6,473 in longevity pay.

Jones' salary was $122,501 this school year.

The School Board approved the job description for the new position that Lempe will take during Tuesday's meeting.

School Superintendent Lori White warned the district is likely to use $5.8 million from reserves -- almost $2 million higher than expected -- to balance the upcoming budget.

"It puts everyone on notice it will be a tight year next year," White said, adding the district could consider a hiring freeze once the positions are in place for the 2014-15 school year.

The district had expected more money from the state, the reason for the disconcerting financial news, White said. Before state lawmakers had finalized their budget, the district had expected to need to use between $3.8 million and $4.8 million from savings for the 2014-15 school year.

Lempe was formerly the HR executive director in the district before he was promoted to its chief operating officer.

"It's a bit like going home," said Lempe, who will also oversee other departments, including transportation, construction services and food and nutrition services.

Overall, the retirements and reorganization are expected to save the district's general fund budget $108,500 in 2014-15. …

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