Merit pay bump for Kearny’s Blood

KEARNY — The Kearny Board of Education concluded that its chief educational administrator achieved three of the goals targeted for the 2016-2017 school year.

And, as prescribed by state statute and her contract with her employer, that accomplishment should trigger – subject to concurrence by the county superintendent of schools – certain “merit pay” hikes for Schools Superintendent Patricia Blood, according to KBOE counsel Ken Lindenfelser.

And, Lindenfelser noted, her pay could go even higher in the 2017-2018 school year as a result of a new state salary cap formula for local superintendents.

Meantime, though, here’s how Blood figures to qualify for salary adjustments for the current school year, based on the KBOE’s determinations at its May 15 meeting:

First, the board concluded that Blood successfully completed a review and update of all district job descriptions for BOE approval prior to the April 2017 meeting, posted that information on the district website and made available a job description manual in the board office.

Second, the board found that Blood made good on her pledge to form a Superintendent’s Advisory Council “to promote a culture of high expectations for all students” and convene four meetings during the school year (with the fourth slated for May 23).

“All meetings have been well-attended and positive feedback has been received,” the board noted. Among the topics covered, the board added, were “curriculum offerings, the high school construction project, PARCC testing, before- and after-school care, awards and recognitions and a high school culinary demonstration ….”

Third, Blood arranged to have teachers trained in the “RTIm Direct” approach to more effectively provide intervention and referral services to “struggling learners,” and thereby reduced special education referrals to 78 for the 2016-2017 school year – “50% less” than the previous 3-year average of 155 per year. Blood had hoped to achieve at least a 2% reduction.

Fourth, Blood surpassed her goal of getting 80% of all students in grades 1 and 2 who took the Fountas & Pinnell assessment in fall 2016 to advance a minimum of two reading levels by January/February 2017.

“Excluding those students who were late entrants and those enrolled in the district’s ELL (English Language Learners) program, the mid-year assessments showed an 83% success rate in moving students two grade levels. Last year’s final assessment results showed average gains of 5.21 levels in grade 1 and 3.1 levels in grade 2. We believe our mid-year results look promising for repeating that success,” the superintendent advised the board.

According to Lindenfelser, for having achieved the first two “qualitative” goals, Blood qualifies for a 3.5% merit pay boost to her base annual salary of $167,500 for each goal.

For each of the other “quantitative” goals, Blood is entitled to a 3.3% merit pay raise, the attorney said.

Those four adjustments would bring Blood’s annual salary to approximately $191,467.50.

For the following school year, the state has raised the salary cap for school superintendents which, based on Kearny’s enrollment, would make Blood eligible for a revised base pay of $191,504 a year plus an additional $5,000 because the district has a high school, Lindenfelser said.

But the adjustment isn’t automatic, the attorney added. The KBOE would have to authorize such a change, he said.

In other personnel moves, the board voted to:

Extend its contract with interim business administrator H. Ronald Smith through June 30, 2018, at the same amount of $650 per day, with a 60-day termination clause which can be exercised if and when the board selects a permanent B.A.

Reappoint “tenured professional staff,” along with “tenured Kearny educational office professional staff members” and “tenured non-bargaining unit employees” for the 2017-2018 school year.

Ratify the transfers of 23 teachers and professional staff.

In other business, the board authorized the acquisition of the Frontline Education program to facilitate scheduling substitute teachers on a daily basis as needed at a start-up cost of $6,000 and annual subscription fee of $17,160.

And the board voted to renew its contract with Cali Carting Inc. for garbage, refuse and debris removal services for the 2017-2018 school year at a 3% increase, from the current cost of $8.65 per yard cost to $8.91 per yard.



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