$16,094 salary bump provided by the contract which the Duneland School
Board has proposed for the new superintendent--Dave Pruis, currently
assistant superintendent for operations--is sticking in the craw of at
least one Duneland teacher.
a public hearing on that contract, held Thursday evening, CHS German
teacher Michele Bartels--also co-president of the Duneland Teachers
Association--objected to the proposed 12.5-percent salary increase on the
ground that it’s too much at the wrong time.
current superintendent’s salary: $128,906. The proposed new salary:
have a good relationship with Dave (Pruis) and think the world of him,”
Bartels said. “But I have a total inability to understand how we can
come up with that much money for one person when the teachers haven’t
had a raise in years, class sizes are increasing, and student aides are
concerned about the way it will appear to the public after the referendum,”
Bartels added. “How will the community react? We went through that with
the artificial turf. I would ask that you think about this and talk about
suggested that, instead of enacting a single raise in one fell swoop, the
board could “work it in over a period of time,” “so it’s not
suddenly $20,000 for one position with benefits.”
Mike Trout thanked Bartels for her comments but noted that the Duneland
superintendent’s salary has historically been low, compared to that in
comparable school corporations. “If we hired outside we would have had
to pay a competitive salary,” he said. “The board has known for a long
time that we’ve been underpaying our superintendent.”
list provided to the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting shows
that, of 17 superintendents in school corporations with similar state
support and academic performance, Duneland’s superintendent earned the
least in April 2012: $128,906. Southwest Allan’s earned the most:
$187,000. The average salary: $155,186. The Valparaiso Community Schools’:
a sticker shock, no doubt about it,” Trout said. “But we thought it
was the right thing to do. And we know we’ll get the bang for our buck
with Dr. Pruis.”
aware of the concern and the perception,” Trout added. “But we thought
the money is worth it.”
for his part, thanked Bartels for her thoughts. “I appreciate your
comments,” he said. “I think you know me well and that we can talk
about anything. We don’t always agree.”
would be kind of weird if we did,” Bartels said.
did observe in her remonstration that Pruis’ proposed contract was
printed as a legal ad in the Chesterton Tribune--in the usual small
print--during spring break.
one other bit of business, at Pruis’ recommendation, members voted 5-0
to reject the nine bids received for the remodeling of the old
Instructional Materials Center on Fifth Street--eyed now as a wellness
center--and to release the bid bonds.
said that the bids came in “much higher than anticipated.”
specs will be reviewed and “hopefully we’ll have a recommendation
about re-advertising” at the board’s next meeting.