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D-304 Superintendent Mutchler gets salary hike, contract extended to 2018

GENEVA – The Geneva School District 304 board voted 5-2 Monday to increase Superintendent Kent Mutchler’s salary 2.5 percent, to more than $203,720 for the current school year, and to extend his five-year contract by one year to 2018.

Board members Leslie Juby and Michael McCormick voted “no.”

McCormick said his “no” vote was based on “dollars and cents” and not a reflection of Mutchler’s work.

“It was not in any way a statement of his efficacy,” McCormick said. “I think the district is doing great. I am completely proud of what he and the administration and the teachers did with the district. But we are not out of the woods yet. This is about dollars and cents.”

In approving another year on his contract, the board also voted on his compensation for the current year, officials said.

Board President Mark Grosso said records show Mutchler’s 2012-13 base salary was $198,751. With the increase, his salary will go up nearly $5,000 for the 2013-14 school year.

“To me, it was just too lucrative,” McCormick said. “I just was thinking it could be trimmed down a little. We have a lot of debt to trim down.”

Juby said she voted against it because she does not support contracts that extend out five years.

Grosso said a copy of the contract will be available later this week once it is typed up, lawyers go over it and it is signed.

Grosso said he voted in favor of the additional year in Mutchler’s contract and the pay increase because of the superintendent’s exceptional performance.

“I voted yes because Dr. Mutchler has – especially in this last year –  exceeded my expectations as far as performance,” Grosso said. “He was able to initiate the teacher evaluation process in District 304, and he did it with no increase in manpower … It was a long and arduous task to evaluate every teacher in the district, 400 certified staff.”

Grosso said other districts have had to hire additional staff to support the teacher evaluation process, which was mandated by the state. 

Also a factor was the district’s emergency drill, Grosso said.

The drill was funded by a $375,000 federal Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools grant. The drill, which was staged in April, took about 2 ∏ years to coordinate and involved multiple local agencies.

“We had great success with that emergency drill,” Grosso said. 

Another reason, Grosso said, was the improvement in test scores, in particular the ACT scores showing Geneva High School’s graduating Class of 2013 achieved a composite score of 24.6.

The average composite ACT score for 2013 graduates statewide is 20.6. Nationwide, the composite score is 20.9, officials said.

Grosso said Mutchler’s compensation is tied to the district’s academic performance.

Mutchler said he appreciated the board’s support.

“I think it’s a wonderful board,” Mutchler said. “We work well as a team together. You can’t base any of that on votes – they are going to vote for their own reasons. As a team, we work well together and [have] a common focus on students and keep moving the district forward.”

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