The Mt. Lebanon school board approved a $150,000 payment for extra winterization measures taken by a contractor during the district's high school renovation project.
Monday's action came a month after the board voted in favor of paying Nello Construction $75,000 for the same purpose.
Superintendent Timothy Steinhauer said several unforeseen factors contributed to some work taking place later than scheduled, including an August incident in which workers hit an underground electrical wire, causing an explosion. He also cited problems with too much moisture in the soil for construction to proceed, along with issues involving utilities.
"All those cumulative events pushed some of the project to occur in months where the contractor didn't anticipate," he said.
To keep close to schedule, work areas had to be covered during adverse weather to allow construction to continue.
The payment to Nello was one of 29 change orders for the high school project approved by the board Monday, totaling about $355,000. The district has built a contingency fund into the project's $109 million cost to cover unforeseen expenditures.
Some residents told the board about their objections to the payments for winterization and change orders submitted by contractors in general.
"I think we ought to be heavy-handed on them, because they've been getting a free ride way too long," said Bruce Slater of Skylark Drive.
Elaine Cappucci, school board president, explained that district administrators and construction manager P.J. Dick Inc. review all change order requests, and many are resolved or reduced in scope before reaching the board for approval.
Such reviews save money for the district, a facet of the project that was cited as the board voted to give five administrators "construction merit supplements."
Receiving $1,000 each are Ronald Davis, assistant superintendent of secondary education; Jeff Kasier, high school operations manager; Janice Klein, director of business; Rick Marciniak, project manager; and Brian McFeeley, high school principal.
"They have had to do much more work than their usual job," Mr. Steinhauer said, noting that the high school's educational program has not suffered despite the disruptions caused by the renovation.
In other business Monday:
• The board approved salary increases for six groups of employees effective July 1, as per the terms of various contracts.
Average pay raises are 3 percent for custodial and maintenance employees; 2.89 percent for 12-month secretaries; and 2.8 percent each for administrative assistants and supervisors, specialists, and head custodians. Administrators will average a 3 percent raise, reflecting an increase of 1.7 percent under the terms of their state Act 93 compensation plan, plus merit pay.
Ms. Cappucci said that although the raises are contractually obligated, they must receive board approval as district expenditures.
Board member Scott Goldman voted against the increases, saying he doesn't see the necessity of taking action on something that already is an obligation.
• The board voted to renew the continuation of the district's insurance policies for 2013-14, at a cost of $571,917.
Although that total represents a substantial increase over the current year, the cost is some $13,500 less than the estimate reported at last week's board discussion meeting.
Harry Funk, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.