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School chief's performance goals approved : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
School chief's performance goals approved
If goals are achieved by next June, Wendt could earn an extra $27,500

by Lyle R. Rolfe


Oswego School District Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt will earn an additional $27,500 onto his $225,000 salary at the end of June 2015 if he meets several performance goals.

He will receive 10 percent of the $27,500 if he accomplishes financial goals, 30 percent for curriculum goals, 15 percent for staff development goals, 25 percent for district focused goals and 20 percent for student achievement goals.

Goals will be set for each year of his five-year contract. If all are accomplished he will receive $187,500 in bonus by the end of the contract.

School district board members voted 6-1 to approve the first-year goals at a special board meeting on May 27 and released the information to the media on May 30 after the Ledger-Sentinel filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the district. The Ledger-Sentinel rescinded the FOIA request after the district agreed to release the information.

No information was released at the time board members voted 6-1 to accept Wendt's goals.

Board member Ali Swanson cast the dissenting vote. When asked why she voted against the goals Swanson said, "Just two years ago it was a shared goal of the Board of Education and Administration to implement dual credit so that students had the opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma and some or all of an associates degree simultaneously.

"How will we ever give these kids the opportunity for dual credit if we don't hold the administration to the goal we set together?"

Wendt's goal or objective for finances is to "ensure that 2014-15 year ends with an operating cash surplus of not less than $300,000. If accomplished, it will earn him a 10 percent bonus.

The measurement for this is that the cash within all operating funds must total no less than $300,000 as of June 30 with a proforma statement of operating funds to be submitted to the board on or before June 8, 2015.

His goal for curriculum is divided into two parts.

The first is to "create an academically gifted and talented task force to identify recommendations to improve programming." If approved by the board, then he must develop and implement programming for the 2015-16 school year.

The measurement Wendt set for this is that he must present to the board fact-based conclusions and recommendations of the analysis as well as recommendations for changes, if needed, with associated costs. The goal must be completed by Oct. 20 of this year to earn him a 10 percent bonus.

The second half of the curriculum goal is to complete an evaluation of the district's kindergarten program including associated costs, staffing, student achievement and placement. If approved by the board he must develop and implement the program for the 2015-16 school year.

Wendt's measurement for accomplishing this goal is to present facts to the board with recommendations for a long-term sustainable kindergarten program and have it completed by Feb. 25, 2015. If accomplished, it will earn him a 20 percent increase.

He set three district focus goals for himself.

The first is to develop and recommend a long-term infrastructure technology plan to support the digital academic needs of the district along with associated costs.

His measurement to show he accomplished the goal is to have presented the plan including associated costs, to the board by April 27, 2015. If done, it will earn him a 10 percent increase.

The second district focused goal is to complete and recommend a long-term facilities plan to ensure efficient utilization of all district facilities. Wendt's measurement to show this was accomplished is for him to present the plan with associated costs to the board by Feb. 9, 2015. That goal will earn him another 10 percent.

The last district focused goal is to increase the Average Daily Attendance of the district by 0.5 (one-half percent) for the 2014-15 school year.

Wendt said the accomplishment of this goal will be based on an attendance report from the State of Illinois.

This report will have to show that the ADA is at least one-half percent greater for 2014-15 than it was for the 2013-14 school year. If this goal is accomplished, it will earn him a five percent raise.

The staff development goal is to complete Phase 1 of the implementation plan for the Professional Learning Community program that was presented to board members in March by other administrators.

Wendt must provide the board with a summary including who the staff members are for the Phase 1 implementation and validation of staff training by March 23, 2015. If accomplished the goal will add 15 percent to his bonus.

There are two parts to the student achievement goal. First, is to increase the ACT Composite scores by four percent by June 8, 2015.

The measurement for this is to compare Composite ACT scores of students who took the ACT exam this past April to those who will take the exam during April of 2015.

If the goal is accomplished, it will add 10 percent to this bonus.

The final goal under student achievement is to increase the number of students by 10 percent, that score a three or better on the AP exam.

The measurement Wendt set for this goal is to compare the number of students scoring three or better on the exam during the 2013-14 school year to the number of students who will score three or better during the 2014-15 school year.

He must complete this goal by June 8, 2015 to receive an additional 10 percent of this bonus.

If all are accomplished by the deadlines, he will receive the full $27,500 bonus for the year.

The performance goals were set after the board voided the last year of Wendt's three-year-contract in March and approved a new five-year contract for him on recommendation of Board President Bill Walsh.

The present contract would have expired on July 1 of 2015. The new five-year contract will go through July 1, 2019.

Wendt's base-salary remains the same as in his original contract--$225,000 throughout the five years, but his bonus changes each year.

His bonus will be $27,500 for the 2014-15 school year; $32,500 for 2015-16; $37,500 for 2016-17; $42,500 for 2017-18; and $47,500 for 2018-19, the last year of the contract for a total over the five years of $187,500.

Walsh said they extended the contract to 2019 because of the time it will take Wendt to accomplish the proposed improvements to the district. They include stability, continuity, and a consistent vision as they move forward.

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