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D-425 board extends superintendent’s contract

SHABBONA – On the day after Christmas, the Indian Creek School District 425 board rewarded its superintendent with a contract extension.

At a special meeting held in the office of Superintendent Pamela Rockwood, board members voted, 5-1, for a four-year contract extension for Rockwood that includes annual raises of 6 percent in her base salary, which exceeded $135,000 in 2012.

Rockwood’s new contract lasts through June 30, 2017. The board also voted to allow her unused sick days to accumulate up to 260 days – a year’s work – and they gave her a one-time batch of 35 sick days that she can use at any time. Rockwood joined the district in July 2006 with a base salary of $115,000; she previously had spent a year as superintendent of Gavin School District 37 in Ingleside.

Voting for the contract were board members Vaughn Boehne, Cheryl Palombo, Pam Ottengheime, Jim Hicks and Daniel Sanderson, district administrative assistant Gail Loes said. Board member Jeff Martenson was opposed; board member Jill Konen was absent from the meeting, Loes said.

The board also voted, 4-2, to give Rockwood a one-time post-retirement bonus of $15,000 for “exemplary performance and achievement,” Loes said. Voting no were Martenson and Hicks, Loes said.

The district office indicated Rockwood would not be available until Monday. Boehne, the board president, did not return calls for comment this week; efforts to reach other board members for comment were not successful.

Rockwood’s base salary in the 2011-12 fiscal year was similar to other local superintendents’ in districts of similar sizes, according to salary information posted on the district websites.

Rockwood made $135,045 for running a district with 782 students, while Superintendent Christine Demory made $136,258 for running Hiawatha School District 426 with 606 students. Superintendent James Hammack was paid $128,698 for running Hinckley-Big Rock School District 429 with 714 students.

All three of the districts gave their superintendents 20 vacation days, while Demory received 20 sick days, Hammack was given 17 and Rockwood 13, according to reports posted on the district websites.

Waterman resident Loren Monsess said he attended the meeting last week with several others. He said the only reason given at the meeting for the pay raise and contract extension was “for her exemplary service.”

However, the fact that the meeting was held at 8 a.m. the day after Christmas in the superintendent’s office “doesn’t sound right to me,” Monsess said. He doesn’t think there’s much that can be done to rectify the situation, other than vote the responsible parties out of office.

A request at the district office to see nominating petitions for those who have filed to run for the school board was denied Thursday.

“When these people run for re-election, they need to find somebody else for the good of the kids and the good of the taxpayers in mind,” Monsess said.

By the numbers

This chart shows the base superintendent salaries for local school districts in the 2011-12 school years, according to reports posted on the district web sites.

Superintendent    District    Base Salary    Enrollment
Christine Demory    Hiawatha District 426    $136,258    606
James Hammack    Hinckley-Big Rock District 429    $128,698    714
Pamela Rockwood    Indian Creek District 425    $135,045    782
Dawn Green    Somonauk District 432    $121,175    891
Joe Burgess    Genoa-Kingston District 424    $147,145    1,905
Rick Schmitt    Sandwich District 430    $148,800    2,364
Wayne Riesen    Sycamore District 427    $184,544    3,839       
Jim Briscoe    DeKalb District 428    $199,210    6,104

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