SP board adjusts incentives for superintendent’s salary package 11/21/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2014

SP board adjusts incentives for superintendent’s salary package

By Rupert Howell
South Panola School trustees adjusted several of Superintendent Tim Wilder’s 21 “indicators of success” as outlined with his contract when he was hired to guide the local school district for school year 2013-2014.

Trustees at the time put incentives into the contract to not only encourage academic improvement, but also to increase graduation rates and maintain a healthy fund balance assuring the district’s finances were in order.

Wilder requested several changes to that agreement Tuesday night at the monthly meeting stating comparing the current year’s assessment with last year’s assessment would be like comparing, “apples to oranges.”

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He explained that there was a “completely different curriculum in 2014-15 school year,”  noting the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessment would be used in subject area testing as opposed to the Mississippi Curriculum Test 2 (MCT2).
MCT2 assessments were in compliance with requirements of the federal legislation No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

PARCC testing measures real world skills such as critical thinking and problem solving and is in line with Common Core requirements.

Changes in Wilder’s contract concerning student scores mostly included setting goals compared against Mississippi school averages.

Trustees also voted to decrease the amount of fund balance expected to be held to a minimum of 10 percent from the current 12 percent.

That amount represents the percentage of the annual amount of money used to operate the district kept on hand to be used in case of emergencies and for operating capital. A minimum eight percent balance is recommended, with Financial Director David Rubenstein noting that the district currently maintains approximately a 14 percent balance. Rubenstein also reminded trustees that the district could go use capital improvement funds that currently amount to $4.5 million in case of dire emergency while noting that although the district had recently received a $600,000 donation from South Mississippi Electric Power Association, taxable property was less than in years prior.

Prior to his motion to set the fund balance minimum at 10 percent, Bean said he did not want to set unattainable goals for the superintendent.

Wilder also discussed emphasis being put into helping students graduate by helping them with preparing for subject area tests.

“We are pleased with results. We want to continue as we move into December because it is so critical for these seniors to graduate,” Wilder said.

High school juniors are given subject area tests which they must pass to graduate. The students are given additional instruction and several have already retaken and passed the test while several others only lack a few points to pass according to Wilder.

Eighteen of the 30 have passed with Wilder stating, “It’s not the home run we were looking for but there is very much improvement.”