Salary increases tied to performance reviews

Each year school boards evaluate the performance of their superintendents, and for many of the local district chiefs, those reviews can determine their future salary.

When it comes to negotiating a contract for a new superintendent, there are many factors that are considered.

Wayne Leclair, senior consultant with the state School Board Association, explained that superintendent contracts around the state vary depending on the district.

“(Contracts are) going to vary based on geography, district size, district wealth,” Leclair said on a few of the contributing factors.

Leclair said that typically, a board would have a general discussion on a new contract and then could hand it over to a committee. He added that previous experience in the position of superintendent would factor into the length of a contract. Superintendent contracts may be made for three to five years.

But because of recent legislation, contracts must include performance evaluations, which include the review of district goals and achievements.

For many of the superintendents in Lycoming County, any increase in base salary is determined by those evaluations.

Dr. Mark Stamm, South Williamsport Area School District superintendent, explained that he creates measurable long-term goals for the district based on collected data.

“Each long-range goal is then back-mapped through two years, one year, and six months. Every six months I provide a strategic update to the board on my progress toward meeting each six-month benchmark,” Stamm said.

Daphne Bowers, Montgomery Area School District superintendent, shared her district’s goal, which included demonstrating growth in student performance and continuing with the district’s ipid technology initiative.

Bowers added that there are quarterly meetings with the board to discuss the achievement of goals. Those goals contribute to the superintendent’s annual performance review.

Bowers provided the Sun-Gazette with a performance review form that each board member fills out. The form looks at leadership skills – such as planning and assessment, organizational management and community relations – and annual performance goals.

Michael Pawlik, East Lycoming School District superintendent, said that some of his district’s goals include improving communication with the community, as not all residents have children attending district schools, and increasing the amount of students who take dual-enrollment courses and advanced placement exams.

The contract of Dr. Portia Brandt, Muncy School District superintendent, allows her to be able to receive percentage increases based on certain measurements. The contract gives Brandt the possibility of receiving a 3.5-percent total increase each year based on goals. Those increases are set according to categories and achievements, including a 1-percent increase if the district meets PSSA targets in all subjects.

Bowers and Robert Grantier, Loyalsock Township School District superintendent, explained that while there is an annual performance review, they constantly are receiving feedback from staff, board members and community members that can help improve the educational experience for students.

“There really is a strong process going on behind the scenes,” Bowers said.