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D65 board sweetens chief’s compensation

District 65 school board members voted with minimal public notice Monday night to give School Superintendent Hardy Murphy what amounts to a 3.5 percent pay hike.

Acting on an item added to its agenda over the weekend, the board voted 4-3 to give Murphy an additional annuity amounting to 3.5 percent of his current salary of $214,115.

Murphy already receives a 15 percent annuity and a $25,000 housing allowance for a total compensation package of nearly $279,000 a year.

In June last year when the public had advance notice of the board's plan to extend Murphy's contract five years into the future, the board's meeting room was packed and more than a dozen speakers opposed the extension, but the board approved it on a 5-2 vote, with only Tracy Quattrocki and Katie Bailey voting no.

Monday night, with the Murphy item not added to the agenda until Sunday according to board secretary Pat Markham, only a handful of spectators were in the room and none spoke out on the compensation question.

Board agendas typically are posted several days before the meeting, but the one posted last Thursday contained no mention of the superintendent's compensation.

When the issue came to a vote, newly-elected board members Eileen Budde and Richard Ryhkus joined Quattrocki in voting against it.

Veteran board members Jerome Summers, Andrew Pigozzi and Kim Weaver voted yes, and they were joined by Bailey, who after voting against the contract extension last year won re-election to her second term in April.

Those who opposed the increase cited economic uncertainties for the district and the need to keep expenses under control. Those who voted in favor lauded Murphy for his stewardship of the district over the years and noted that he has not had a salary increase for three years.

The new agreement also permits the superintendent to bank up to 10 unused vacation days, compared to seven days previously.

In other action, the Board approved publication of a tentative budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year and scheduled a public hearing on the budget for Sept. 26. The operating budget of $104 million is about 3 percent higher than last year’s.

It also approved four goals for the district for the next three years:

  1. To improve academic achievement for all student subgroups as demonstrated on a number of standardized tests.
  2. To maintain balanced operating fund budgets and to continue implementing sound fiscal monitoring and financial planning for balanced budgets beyond the 2013-14 fiscal year.
  3. To present a five-year facilities plan and to update the district’s technology plan.
  4. To fully implement the 2008-13 strategic plan and to develop a strategic plan to start with the 2014-15 school year.
Charles Bartling

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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