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School board approves budget, raises

Superintendent gets 4 percent increase


There were no disagreements at the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board meeting on June 17, as the board voted unanimously to adopt the budget recommended by its budget committee. The approval included one amendment and raises for the superintendent, administrators, teachers and classified staff.

Business Manager Doug Middlestetter proposed the amendment to the budget, which the committee approved at its last meeting June 10. The change involved the way the district’s bond rate is calculated and was needed to help account for late tax collections and discounts. It added $400,000 to debt service, increasing the overall budget total to $112,969,204. Because the amendment is less than 10 percent of the debt service fund total, consent from the budget committee was not required. The board accepted the change.

Kathe Monroe, district director of human resources, reported on contract negotiations with unions representing certified, or licensed, and classified staff such as office staff, maintenance workers, food service employees and classroom aides.

Administrators will receive a 4 percent restructuring in the next school year and 2 percent in the second year. Certified staff will receive a 2 percent increase on the base pay in the 2013-14 school year and a 0.5 percent pay increase the following year. With the impact of “step” and “column” movement, which are based on longevity and educational advancement, respectively, certified staff have the potential to earn raises of between 4 to 8 percent. Classified staff will receive a 1 percent increase in each of the next two school years on their base salary. Their “step” increase will be restored, which could result higher rate increases.

Rhoades

All groups experienced salary freezes during the past three years, Monroe said, calling the raises “significant.” The board was unanimous in its approval of those contract changes.

Board Vice Chairman Dale Hoogestraat reported on the board’s evaluation of Superintendent Bill Rhoades. Each board member evaluated Rhoades’ performance in 10 areas. Following private discussion, the board met with Rhoades for a performance discussion, identifying, Hoogestraat said, “areas we can work on together to build a stronger, more cohesive leadership team.”

Board members gave Rhoades uniformly high marks, and Hoogestraat reported that the board was “very pleased” with his performance.

“Overall, it’s been a very solid year, capped off with three graduations from our three high schools, on three consecutive nights, where we graduated almost 600 students,” Hoogestraat said.

Based on the superintendent’s performance review, Hoogestraat proposed three amendments to Rhoades’ contract: changing the expiration date of his three-year rolling contract from June 30, 2015, to June 30, 2016; adding a 4 percent increase to his $135,000 base salary, effective July 1; and increasing his monthly expense budget from $900 to $1,000. In addition to his salary and expense budget, Rhoades receives a $1,000 tax-sheltered monthly annuity, and the school district pays the superintendent’s 6 percent PERS contribution in addition to its statutory retirement contributions.

“We’ve obviously had a very good year,” Hoogestraat said. “Dr. Rhoades has not had a raise since he was hired (in 2011) and we have really accomplished a ton of things.” Hoogestraat credited Rhoades’ leadership for the success of two one-time events: the “virtually flawless opening” of the district’s new primary schools, Lowrie and Trillium Creek, and the district’s response to the fire at West Linn High School’s gymnasium in October 2012.

“We lost one day” of school because of that fire, Hoogestraat said. “If not well managed, it would have been a lot longer than that.”

Rhoades also has led the district through a host of new state regulations and requirements, including achievement compacts, common core standards and a new evaluation system for teachers and administrators. Under Rhoades’ leadership, the district also has reviewed and improved safety procedures following recent high-profile shootings in Clackamas and Newtown, Conn.

The meeting concluded with a discussion of how the district would be affected if state funding for schools is not settled in Salem before the start of the district’s fiscal year on July 1.

Throughout the meeting, board members, administrators and district employees also were unanimous — and profuse — in thanking two retiring board members for their volunteer service. Hoogestraat has served for nine years, while Cheri Zimmerman has served for two years. Both will step down as of July 1, when new members Regan Molatore and Rob Fernandez take their seats.




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