The Racine Unified Board of Education once again did not vote on whether or not to approve salary increases because two members walked out of a special meeting Thursday.

Dennis Wiser and Julie McKenna boycotted the regularly scheduled meeting Monday to prevent a quorum and effectively shutting down any action related the hotly contested employee handbook.

Specifically, proposed salary increases for teachers that run contrary to current policy was on the agenda when two board members – Mike Frontier and Don Nielsen – were already scheduled to be absent. Wiser said Board President Melvin Hargrove wasn’t following board policy by bringing the salary increase to the full board before scheduling the matter before the Governance Committee.

A special meeting was scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday. Sources close to the issue told Racine County Eye that the salary issue was not supposed to have been on the agenda in order to get Wiser and McKenna to attend and vote on the demolition of Caddy Vista and the Violence Free Zone contract.

But, when Wiser and McKenna learned that the salary issue was again placed on the agenda, they cast their votes for both the razing of the school and the contract and then walked out of the meeting.

Afterwards, the district issued a statement accusing the board of holding up salary increases for teacher just as faculty is getting ready to head back into classrooms for the new school year.

“This evening we were prepared to ask the Board to consider approving sufficient funds to provide a 1.62 percent increase for teachers who are at the top of the salary schedule,” Superintendent Dr. Lolli Haws said in the statement. “It continues to be my priority to keep the District’s teacher compensation competitive.”

In a nutshell, Haws wants to raise salaries according to steps, or levels, so teachers get an average of a 2.5 percent increase. Teachers who are already at the top of their salary range are not eligible for a step increase but will receive a 1.62 percent raise.

We will update this story as details become available.

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