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Some Oswego District 308 Administrators to Receive Pay Increases, Contract Extensions

Apr 16, 2015 01:22PM ● By Steven Jack

Some of the nearly 80 administration officials in Oswego School District 308 are set to receive salary increases and contract extensions for the 2015-16 school year. 

The School Board Monday night voted 6-1, with Matt Bauman voting no, to give Superintendent Matthew Wendt discretion in dolling out a total of $300,000 in salary increases to be given among some administrators for 2015-16. The increases will be based mainly on performance evaluations, according to Board President Bill Walsh. 

The increases are part of a budgeted five-year plan by the district to more competitively align administrator pay with nearby districts. Board members will vote on the increases at their next meeting Monday, April 27.

“This is a commitment the board made last year,” Walsh said. “We don’t want more turnover. We’re losing quality administrators to other districts. We have to try and create stability.”

The increases come amid uncertainty in the district’s 2015-16 budget. Wendt said Monday night that based on enrollment projections, special education requirements and increased dual credit offerings at the high schools the district may need to hire up to 55 new teachers for 2015-16. He also cautioned board members the district could take another $1 million hit in general aid from the state in 2015-16.

Walsh said despite uncertainty in state funding and additional projected staffing costs, administrator salary increases won’t negatively impact the district’s bottom line.

“This is something that we have budgeted for,” he said. “We’ve had some cost savings over the last couple of years and we’ll have more in the next year. It’s a fine balance for sure.”

In addition to the increases, the board also approved lengthened contracts for some administrators. District-level directors along with nearly all building principals are now on two-year contracts. Previously those officials worked on one-year contracts. 

The district’s top three administrators Paul O’Malley, Judy Minor and John Sparlin were each given new three-year contract lengths after just one year of three-year deals signed last year. 

Board member-elect Brad Banks campaigned on curbing salaries of top administrators and “right-sizing” the number of administrators above building level. He said Thursday afternoon he doesn’t support contract extensions for O’Malley, Minor and Sparlin or possible increases to their salaries.

“We need to focus on taking care of our building-level people, and create stability,” he said. “I think if we give out increases to top administration that sends the wrong message. That money should be spent at building level administration and if there is money left over that should be put back into the classrooms.”

Bauman said his Monday night vote was focused mostly on extensions for top administrators. 

“I think we should be cautious as far as extending contracts in the upper administration at this point,” he said. “At the building level extending the contracts for the principals is a great move because it shows we are committed there. … With the board changing hands, I think we need to see if there is going to be a change in focus of the district.”