Nadaburg Unified district chief seeks to retire, be rehired
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#1 Oct 7, 2011
It's double dipping and should not be allowed. Isn't one ridiculous salary enough?
#3 Oct 8, 2011
Peoria Unified chief eligible for $27,000 in performance pay
The Peoria Unified School District governing board recently approved benchmarks the superintendent must meet this year to collect up to $27,000 in performance pay.
Many of Superintendent Denton Santarelli's board-set goals relate to test scores, graduation rates and the amount of state funds spent in the classroom.
A state law effective this school year requires Peoria and every other school district in Arizona to ensure 20 percent of a superintendent's annual salary is based on performance.
However, Peoria officials credit themselves as being one of the state's first districts to pilot this performance-pay structure.
"This is something this board started doing several years before the Legislature mandated that it become part of these contracts," said board member Diane Douglas at the board meeting.
Rep. Rick Murphy, who served on the Peoria school board until his term expired in January, sponsored the new law.
Santarelli receives a $150,000 base salary, a $6,000 annual car allowance and the opportunity for the performance pay. Superintendents' salaries in Maricopa County are nearly $140,000 on average, according to a survey conducted last year by the Arizona School Boards Association.
Santarelli's pay, including the bonus, is slightly higher than the average salary of school chiefs in districts with more than 20,000 students. The average for that size of district was $165,585, according to the survey.
Peoria's latest enrollment figures show 36,624 students.
Santarelli's goals include:
- Increase ACT scores.
- Increase math and reading scores on state tests.
- Increase graduation rate above the state average or the average of a comparable district.
- Find savings outside the classroom of $250,000 to $1 million.
- Spend a greater percentage of state funds in the classroom than the state average or the average of a comparable district.
While she lauded Santarelli for his role in the district's achievements, Douglas said there shouldn't be rewards for how much state funding is put back into the classroom because Arizona's funding is so low. She said it's "nearly impossible" not to meet that goal.
Currently, Peoria's superintendent is awarded $5,000 if the district puts more per pupil funding in the classroom than the state average, which was 57.3 percent in 2008, according to a 2009 report by the state Office of the Auditor General. The national average was 61 percent that year, the report said.
"It's not in appropriate alignment with the intent of the statute," she said, which is to set challenging goals for overall district improvement.
Makes you wonder dosn't it? J.W. Simms.
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