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Robinson declines pay raise

Cites issue of pay for teacher performance

The Fort Wayne Community Schools board approved a new performance-based compensation package for Superintendent Wendy Robinson totaling less than what she was paid last year.

Robinson declined any increase to her base salary and accepted just a performance bonus of $9,450, bringing her total compensation for this year to $209,450, or $5,550 less than last year. Her compensation also includes $20,000 in annuity.

The salary increase is based on individual board member’s scores of Robinson’s performance against standards along with student growth in standardized test scores. Board President Mark GiaQuinta said members scored Robinson well, and she would have received the full salary increase had she accepted it, despite growth data still unavailable from the state Department of Education.

Robinson can earn the increases as part of her annual review by the board. Under the system, Robinson was eligible for the $5,400 base salary increase and a $10,800 bonus. Based on her performance, Robinson received less than the maximum bonus amount, or $9,450.

Despite the district being the largest in the state, Robinson’s compensation doesn’t rank in the top five of salaries of public school superintendents in the state, said the board’s attorney Tim McCaulay. FWCS employs 4,053, including 1,867 teachers, and boasts an enrollment of more than 31,000 students.

As part of Robinson’s evaluation, she can receive an increase to her base salary and a one-time bonus based on her performance each year. Goals are set at the beginning of the year by Robinson and the board, along with the maximum amount she can receive for both the salary increase and bonus.

“The increase really has to be earned every single year,” board President Mark GiaQuinta said.

Member Lisa Olinger abstained from the vote for personal reasons, but thanked Robinson for declining a salary increase during a time when the district is financially strapped.

“That is a personal sacrifice, and I appreciate that,” she said.

Robinson said it would have been “disingenuous” of her to accept a salary increase when the district is unsure how it can compensate teachers based on performance.

“I didn’t think it made sense for me to take advantage of that at this time,” she said.

Last year, Robinson earned a $5,498 raise and a $15,000 bonus. It was the first time she’d received a raise since 2008. She has served as the district’s leader since 2003 and in 2009 and signed a five-year contract that will award her $30,000 if she stays the entire five years.

Peirce thanked

In other business, the board bid farewell to member John Peirce.

Monday’s board meeting was his last, as he was defeated by Glenna Jehl in this month’s election and will be out of town for the board’s December meeting.

Board members wished him luck and thanked him for his years on the board.

“I will always remember John for his civility and his being courteous to not only board members and members of this district but the community as well,” said member Steve Corona.

GiaQuinta credited Peirce with the success of the district’s $119 million building project to make needed upgrades and improvements at more than half of the district’s buildings, but said maybe Peirce spearheading the effort was a mistake because it may have cost him the election.

“We open our arms to new members, and we will do just that with Ms. Jehl, but she has big shoes to fill,” GiaQuinta said.

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