Education

Granite City school district paid 2 women less for years. After lawsuit, it owes them $600,000.

Breaking down the settlement: Who pays, who gets what?

Granite City School District 9 settled a lawsuit over pay disparities for $600,000. Here's where the money will come from and how much each employee who sued will get.
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Granite City School District 9 settled a lawsuit over pay disparities for $600,000. Here's where the money will come from and how much each employee who sued will get.

Two women who work in the Granite City school district say they have been paid less than the men there for the last nine years — even when they had more experience and education — so they sued.

This month, Granite City School District 9 agreed to pay them $600,000 to settle their federal lawsuit over alleged sex-based pay discrimination, which the district denies. Most of the settlement is being paid by the district’s insurer.

Nikki Petrillo and Stacie Miller are both assistant principals at Granite City High School who say in the lawsuit that they have seen their male colleagues start working at higher salaries and receive higher pay raises when they get promoted.

The salary of a man who was named a new assistant principal in the 2011-12 school year, for example, was higher than Petrillo’s salary after three years in the same position, according to the lawsuit.

Miller was promoted from a teaching position at the same time with the same pay. But the lawsuit states she had five more years of experience and one more master’s degree than the man.

In the settlement agreement, which was provided to the Belleville News-Democrat through a public records request, the district denied discriminating against Petrillo or Miller. It stated that any differences in salary were based on “gender neutral factors.”

Thomas Schooley, District 9’s attorney, said officials couldn’t comment further.

According to the lawsuit, Petrillo complained about the pay disparities in 2012, citing sex discrimination, and was soon “forced” back into the classroom as a teacher with a pay cut.

She says the demotion was retaliation for speaking out. The district denied that allegation in the settlement agreement.

Under the agreement, the district’s insurer will pay $477,000 of the total settlement. Back wages make up the rest of the payment.

The total amount Petrillo will get is $242,500, plus $178,500 for her attorneys. Miller will receive a total of $102,500, plus $76,500 for her attorneys.

Petrillo, who was promoted to assistant principal again in 2014, will also have a new salary of $94,462, according to the agreement.

The highest-paid assistant principal in the district today is Timothy Moran, who also works at the high school. His salary is $107,097. He has previous experience as an assistant principal and a principal in District 9.

Miller agreed to retire no later than July 28, 2023, as part of the settlement.

Petrillo and Miller declined to comment to the BND through John Brubaker, who represented them in the case.

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Lexi Cortes covers the issues and events in education that matter to metro-east students, parents and taxpayers. She won a first-place award from the Illinois Press Association in 2018 for her work on a series of stories about proposals to increase sales tax rates, focusing on how those increases could affect schools and residents.


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