Prepared Text for Board Meeting – November 24, 2008

Marc A. Schare  614 791-0646 Home

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Jennifer, I have a number of updates and comments this evening. They are in no particular order.

 

First, we had a discussion 2 weeks ago regarding the Superintendent’s contract and the size of the raise. I raised the issue because I believe we should strive to be as transparent as possible, and since I do believe in transparency, there were a few discrepancies that crept into the calculation. If you calculate value to vacation days and assume that the district will hit the benchmarks to provide the Superintendent with her 2% performance bonus, the total raise was 5.71% and not the “shade below 7%” that I calculated two weeks ago. If you do not include those two data elements, the size of the raise is 2.75% as President Best reported.

 

The message should not get lost in the details of the calculation so let me repeat it explicitly. Dr. Conrath’s contract is significantly lower in value than that of Superintendents in surrounding districts, and  I have the data to prove it. Last week, I asked for and received the contracts for the Superintendents in Westerville, Dublin and Olentangy. Dr. Conrath’s contract is the lowest of the four no matter how you do the calculation and is at least 10% lower than the second lowest. The Dublin contract is eye-popping. After reviewing the four contracts, it is clear that Dr. Conrath is not in this for the money but rather, the psychic income that comes from changing the lives of tens of thousands of kids and bringing a school district into the 21st century. I want to make two more points about transparency. If you calculate the base salary of the superintendent divided by the total compensation, Worthington has less “hidden income” for the Superintendent than any of the other districts and as far as I can tell, we are the only district to put the contract of the Superintendent and Treasurer online. You can’t get a whole lot more transparent than that.

 

My second update has to do with Pam Sturiano’s invitation to shadow a classified worker last week. I chose the food services department at TWHS and I want to thank both Pam and Sally Begin, the head of the department for their hospitality. In my previous life in Corporate America, I always knew that if you wanted to know about a company, you talked to the secretaries. In a public high school, if you want to know about climate and culture, talk to the cafeteria staff. Many of these employees have served the district ably for decades and were very open with their opinions about the changing demographic in Worthington. I had a great time talking to these dedicated employees. I also learned the life lesson not to try to slice a sub sandwhich when there are 30 hungry kids in line. The probable result would have been a lot of blood on the counter and a trip to the ER.

 

My third update has to do with Governor Strickland and his first conversation on School Funding held last Thursday. While the governor was non-committal, it is becoming clearer that he believes that percentage of state dollars relative to the total expenditures in K-12 education must increase. I continue to believe that any such reconfiguration of state funding is likely to be negative for Worthington. Worthington residents should be pleased that out of a crowd of around 100 people in this Central Ohio Event, 5 were from Worthington, including Jeff, WEA VP Mark Hill, Scott Dimauro and Charlie Wilson who, I might add, received the biggest round of applause for his passionate defense of preschool and all day kindergarten. Scott Dimauro had the most important point when he told the Governor that we have to know how much a high quality education costs before we start the funding discussion. I couldn’t agree more.

 

The Treasurer’s advisory committee met last week and we had a good discussion about the level of financial detail appropriate for the public. In keeping with  tonight’s theme of transparency, as a general rule, I would opt for providing the maximum amount of information, but perhaps in