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Janesville schools official wants to set example if bill passes

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
February 24, 2011
— The superintendent of Janesville public schools would pay more for her pension and health insurance if a bill imposing those payments on state workers becomes law.

Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill would require state workers to pay half of their pension contributions and 12.6 percent of their health insurance premiums.


Superintendent Karen Schulte and the Janesville School Board met in closed session Tuesday and agreed that Schulte should begin paying for those benefits at the amounts set by the bill, school board President Bill Sodemann said.


The board added a clause to Schulte's contract to make that possible.


"If it does come down (from the state), she wants to make sure that it starts at the top and that she pays that," Sodemann said.


The teachers and one other union would be protected from having to pay those deductions because they have contracts that will remain in effect until 2013, Sodemann said.


There has been talk, however, of unions re-opening contracts to help with district finances.


Schulte is coming to the end of her first two-year contract. The deductions from her paycheck would start with her new two-year contract, which begins July 1.


The board also finalized details of Schulte's pay for 2010-11, Sodemann said.


Schulte's base pay in the current year is $145,000, the same as in 2009-2010, Sodemann said. The board had voted earlier for a 2.25 percent increase for all administrators this year, Sodemann said, but some board members did not realize that vote included Schulte.


Schulte did not feel comfortable with that situation, so she volunteered to forego a raise for this year, Sodemann said, effectively taking a pay freeze.


Schulte also receives a $5,000 annuity and a bonus based on performance. Her bonus this year is $6,000, the same as the previous year.


The board has set up an award system for Schulte that ranges from zero to $10,000. The bonuses are based on Schulte's score on a report card-like "leadership evaluation manager," which grades her on academic achievement, staff and parent satisfaction, finances, truancy and other items.


Sodemann said the board's goals for Schulte are challenging. She is tasked with improving test scores and making employees and parents more satisfied at a time of diminishing resources.


"These are not softball goals," Sodemann said.


Schulte will get a 2 percent raise for 2011-2012, bringing her salary to $147,900. Schulte's deductions for pension and health insurance would reduce that amount by about $10,500, Sodemann said.


In effect, that's a 5.2 percent pay cut.


Sodemann said the board would vote on the contract at its next meeting.



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