Johnson advances to assistant superintendent: Former business office manager will get raise with promotion | SierraSun.com

Johnson advances to assistant superintendent: Former business office manager will get raise with promotion

Renee Shadforth

In just six months with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Ralph Johnson has endured some of the biggest challenges in the district’s history, especially slicing the annual budget by $2 million in the face of state budget cuts.

On June 25, district Superintendent Dennis Williams asked the school board to give Johnson a promotion from business office manager to assistant superintendent, along with a $12,000 raise, bumping up his salary to $113,207.

“[Johnson] was being recruited by another district and that was what it took for him to stay (with Tahoe Truckee),” Williams said.

The board approved of Johnson’s promotion.

Some might have seen irony in the trustees’ decision, since the they approved Johnson’s $12,000 raise the same day they adopted the 2003-2004 budget, which the district struggled to balance with $2 million in cuts and reallocations.

Williams saw Johnson’s advancement as a necessity to maintain the vitality of the district.

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“Without the raise and promotion we would have lost a valuable key employee,” Williams said. “The effectiveness of a district depends on keeping its valued employees.”

Along with Johnson’s promotion comes a contract and, thus, security.

“I’ve always had a contract with the other school districts I’ve worked with,” Johnson said. “We work at the will of the board, so that security is nice to have.”

It is common for districts to have an assistant superintendent of business, Williams said.

At Johnson’s last job at Los Altos Union High School District, he held the post of associate superintendent, which had virtually the same description as his new position at Tahoe Truckee Unified.

As the assistant superintendent of business, Johnson oversees more departments – including maintenance, transportation, food service, facilities and information services – than any other district administrator. In addition, he administers the entire business department, including payroll, accounts receivable and payable, contracts, insurance and the entire district budget.

With Johnson’s promotion, Jo Wilson will continue as the assistant superintendent of personnel.

Although Johnson’s pay raise effects, in some way, the overall picture of the district’s troubled finances, he said he has “tried to keep the impact as much off the general fund as possible.”

Since it was the school board that gave Johnson his promotion, he said he appreciated their support.

“We’ve worked on some difficult issues together,” he said. “I’m glad they’ve been able to see what I’m capable of.”