School district extends interim superintendent’s contract by one year
Editor’s note: Rockford Board of Education voted April 10 to extend Rockford Public School District 205 Interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Willis’ contract one year. Following is a press release about the contract extension issued by the school district April 10.
RPS 205 school board extends Interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Willis’ contract for one more year
The Rockford Public School board approved a new contract for Interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Willis at its regular board meeting tonight.
The new contract runs through June 30, 2013. It increases Dr. Willis’ annual salary from $185,000 to $210,000 from January 2012 through June 2012, and raises the salary to $225,000 for the 2012-2013 school year. But unlike previous superintendent contracts, it requires Dr. Willis to pay the district $15,000 if he elects to continue he and his wife’s participation in the district’s group health insurance plan. Previous superintendents were allowed to participate in the group plan for a nominal cost, even though the average employee’s health insurance coverage currently costs the district approximately $23,000 per year.
“By requiring Dr. Willis to pay for a significant portion of his health insurance going forward, we were able to structure a contract that benefits both Dr. Willis and the district, making the total payout no greater than the cost of the last superintendent’s contract,” said Board President Harmon Mitchell.
“Dr. Willis is a member of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and under the TRS rules, his pension will be negatively affected if he comes out of retirement for more than one year as we are asking him to do,” Mitchell continued. “The school board felt the need to increase his salary to compensate for that loss in his retirement income yet keep our overall compensation package to Dr. Willis cost-effective for the district. In reality, his net compensation is actually less than we’ve paid two of our last three superintendents.”
Salaries for previous superintendents were $210,000 for Dr. LaVonne Sheffield, $227,000 for Linda Hernandez and $214,128 for Dr. Dennis Thompson. Dr. Willis’ new contract can be terminated at any time by either the board or the interim superintendent with 45 days’ written notice.
“As a board, we are pleased with the stability and progress Dr. Willis and his leadership team have made,” Mitchell stated. “They’ve introduced the Readiness Rocks initiatives, negotiated a teacher contract with the REA, continued to solidify our administrative staff, shored up our financial situation, increased communication and community input, and they continue to make excellent changes to improve our district. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary, and we are confident they can continue moving our district forward under the oversight of Interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Willis.”
The Rockford Public Schools offer a rich and varied curriculum to its nearly 28,000 students, making it the third-largest school district in Illinois and the largest employer in the Rockford region. The district is focusing its efforts on Readiness Rocks, a series of five initiatives aimed at improving student achievement, making best use of resources and making RPS 205 a desirable and successful school district. Those initiatives are: College and Career Readiness, Seven Periods to Success, 21 Century Learning Environments, Preschool for All and College for All. See www.rps205.com.
Posted April 11, 2012
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