Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Mark Evans’ employment contract has been extended through 2019, but he’ll have to wait until fall to see whether he gets a pay raise.
The OPS school board voted 7-2 last week to renew Evans’ contract through June 30, 2019, at a flat base salary of $281,139 for the 2016-17 school year.
This fall, once state test scores are in, the board will crunch the numbers for a new accountability matrix designed to tie pay to performance. Evans can earn a raise if the district shows progress on goals set by the board.
Those goals include growth in state test scores, narrowing the achievement gap between white and minority students, increasing ACT scores, and decreasing the number of students suspended or expelled. Principals, administrators, teachers, students and staff also will be able to give input via climate surveys.
Depending on those results, school board President Lou Ann Goding estimated that Evans could add an additional 3 percent to 3.5 percent to his base salary, or about $8,434 to $9,839.
The school board originally proposed using the new matrix to determine a performance-based bonus for Evans up to $25,000, but changed that to a raise.
Evans earned a 3 percent raise last year, but board member Matt Scanlan said there wasn’t much justification for that number.
“The matrix at least bases it on something, not an arbitrary increase,” he said at the board’s Aug. 15 meeting.
“I think it allows us to be able to share with constituents exactly what we’re focused on for the year and how the superintendent is doing,” she said.
Board members Marian Fey and Marque Snow voted against the contract. Fey has disagreed with the accountability matrix’s heavy emphasis on standardized test scores.
“A vote against this contract is not a vote against the superintendent, or the work that’s been done. It’s a vote against this type of contract and a response to my constituents that have expressed they’re not in support of it as well,” she said.
Snow said the district — starting at the top down, with Evans — has not done enough work to reduce suspension and expulsion rates that disproportionately affect black students.
“Me voting against this doesn’t negate the fact that we’ve turned this district around, but that’s one pressing issue ... that the district kind of pushed off a little bit, as something to do later,” he said. “I feel we haven’t really moved in the direction or at the pace that I would like.”
Evans’ contract also includes a 14 percent contribution to his annuity, a car allowance of $12,000, and medical and retirement benefits. The total cost of his compensation package is $384,744.40. He was hired in 2013.
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