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Residents speak out against superintendent’s salary

Updated: April 24, 2014 10:05AM



VALPARAISO — The school board has no date set for hiring a new superintendent, but the process still ruffled some feathers Thursday.

Before the regular board meeting, which also addressed the search for a replacement for temporary Superintendent Mike Berta, the Valparaiso Community Schools Board outlined the compensation program for his replacement.

The salary could be up to $158,000 a year, and the new superintendent would get a $10,000 contribution to a 403(b) retirement plan and $3,600 in vehicle expense reimbursements, plus $12,495 for health benefits, $606 for dental, $541 toward long-term disability and $77 for term life insurance.

“Do you think the superintendent of Valparaiso schools should be making more than the director of the FBI?” resident Norman Hellmers said to the board.

He said that the new superintendent could have a $202,000 total package, and he suggested starting the new superintendent at $130,000 with two $5,000 performance raises over the next two years.

“A lower salary would send a message of fiscal restraint,” Hellmers said.

Board member James Sarkisian responded that the salary is a ceiling, and the board isn’t bound by it.

Others raised concerns about the hiring process and the Organizational Development Solutions firm the board hired to help.

Chris Pupillo requested the board make public the rubric or metric they were using to hire the new superintendent and wanted to know how much it made use of public input at a Feb. 6 meeting.

Board President Mark Maassel said that there is no written plan, “but is this process well-thought-out and well-considered? Yes.”

The board announced it will be taking over the hiring process now that a six-member community resource committee made its recommendations.

There’s also no projected hiring date for the superintendent, Maassel said.

The board did extend the application date when a state superintendent website couldn’t post the position for a few days, and it will take about a month to interview candidates, depending on their availability.

Berta announced his “second retirement” at the Dec. 18 board meeting, effective Aug. 6.

The board hired him in June 2012 after he retired as superintendent of Portage Township Schools.



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