Tuesday, Dec. 14, saw crucial Redlands Unified School District (RUSD) board appointments and an unlikely pay raise, for the Redlands board of education.

The appointments took place early in the meeting with Trustee Michele Rendler nominating former vice president, Jim O’Neil for the president position recently held by Patty Holohan. O’Neil was unanimously elected.

“Thank you former President Holohan, for an outstanding job and everything you’ve done for us this past year. It’s been one of the most challenging years that I think anybody could have experienced, but you handled it with professionalism, dedication and great leadership,” said O’Neil.

After being appointed, O’Neil’s first move as president was to nominate his choice for vice president. He nominated Alex Vara.

Just like O’Neil, Vara was appointed unanimously.

Later in the agenda, there was a bit of a disagreement between Rendler and her newly appointed president over a proposed 5 percent pay raise for the board members.

O’Neil opened with the item asking for a motion to approve. The request was followed by a couple of moments of silence before O’Neil stepped up and said, “I’ll move that.”

Chuckling, Vara made a motion to second the approval.

The disagreement began when O’Neil opened the floor for discussion and Rendler took the floor.

“I’m just not comfortable with that, giving ourselves a raise, I just feel right now is not the best time,” Rendler said. “We’re still in the pandemic, we’re still worried about different things and we can’t even have our meetings in person.”

O’Neil responded with, “Let me remind you Mrs. Rendler, as per education code we get paid $400 a month, so we’re obviously not doing it for the money. Second thing is, this 5 percent raise is the first that the board of education of Redlands has ever had on its agenda.”

O’Neil also referenced his over 20 years in the district and that he’s never heard of the board asking for a raise.

The discussion between O’Neil and Rendler ended with Rendler stating, “I respect your position, but that’s my opinion.”

Nevertheless, the 5 percent raise was approved 4-1 and now board members will make $420 a month, as opposed to the $400 they made before.

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