Milton School District's communication supervisor will focus on community connection
MILTON—Milton School District administrators and school board members for years have talked about creating a public relations position, Superintendent Tim Schigur said.
District officials even considered partnering with the city and with the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Tourism to create a position that would market the entire community, Schigur said.
“The school district, the businesses, the city, we're all one. We need to find a way to market Milton,” he said.
Talks and “passing conversations” took place, but such a position wasn't created, Schigur said.
Over the course of the last school year, the school district decided it was time to act on the idea, he said.
City Administrator Jerry Schuetz said he was surprised to see the job posting, noting that during informal conversations between the city and the school district, everybody talked about their tight budgets.
“When I saw the job posting, it sounded like the board was willing to act much more quickly,” Schuetz said.
“We were able to finally say, 'Let's just commit to it,'” Schigur said.
Schuetz and Schigur said they didn't talk about Schuetz being a candidate for the job before it was posted.
Schuetz applied for the job and the district conditionally hired him as the communications supervisor July 2.
On Friday, Schuetz resigned as Milton's city administrator, a job he'd held for three a half years. Before that, he was the city's police chief for two years.
The communications supervisor will coordinate communication with the district's internal and external stakeholders, develop marketing strategies and oversee the district's website among other duties, according to the job posting made public on May 23.
The posting garnered 23 applicants and seven finalists who were interviewed, Schigur said. It came down to two people, who were called back for a second interview, he said.
Schuetz edged out his “highly qualified” competition because of his positive reputation in the community and his ability to set up a structure for communication, Schigur said.
“He's very good at communicating, and he understands his audience. His combination of experiences obviously running a police department and a city, that's what we need,” Schigur said.
Schuetz's salary was set at $82,000, which is $2,000 more than the job posting range of $70,000-$80,000. His district-paid benefits will total $31,281, according to figures provided by Schigur.
That makes Schuetz's total compensation the lowest among administrative staff with 365-day contracts for 2014-15, according to the figures.
The salary is less than the $87,700 Schuetz was being paid as city administrator.
The Janesville School District has a similar position, which is one of several positions Schigur looked at when creating the job description. Kevin Leavy is the Janesville School District's public information officer. His total compensation is $74,888, according to figures provided by Keith Pennington, chief financial officer and assistant treasurer for the Janesville School District. Leavy does not take the district's health insurance, Pennington wrote in an email.
The two public relations positions might not be completely comparable, Pennington wrote.
Leavy might only be responsible for a portion of what Schuetz will do based on the number of staff performing similar duties at a larger district, Pennington wrote.
While Milton's new position is funded by the school district, Schigur hopes the stories Schuetz is able to tell about the schools will help promote the greater community, Schigur said.
“Everyone benefits,” he said.
Schuetz said he sees opportunities to celebrate the successes of education tied to the city.
“The district is such an integral part of Milton,” Schuetz said.
He called it an evolving and developing position.
Schuetz starts at the school district Aug. 5.