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Schools chief Kathy Ludwig receives a 4% increase in salary on a deal that ends in 2024

The West Linn-Wilsonville School Board voted 4-to-1 to extend Superintendent Kathy Ludwig's contract at the Monday, June 21, meeting. Her contract was extended by one year and will now end in 2024.COURTESY PHOTO: WEST LINN-WILSONVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT - Kathy Ludwig

Ludwig also was given a 4% salary increase from the current $178,028.

"We choose to retain and inspire our superintendent, because we believe she is the right person to lead our schools forward," Board Vice Chair Chelsea King said at the meeting. "One way that we retain our superintendent is through competitive compensation."

Board member Dylan Hydes voted "no." Prior to the vote, he said that although he supported Ludwig as superintendent, he felt the raise was too high given the district's current budget outlook. The district will see cuts to staffing and programs for the 2021-22 school year. The budget reduction for next school year is close to $3 million.

King said the percentage was chosen based on a comparative analysis of surrounding like-size districts and a review of similar superintendent contracts.

King read the board's joint statement regarding Ludwig's performance during the 2020-21 school year. "The message that the board would like to convey at the culmination of this process is that we see our superintendent, Dr. Kathy Ludwig, to be exceptional in many ways. The board is very satisfied with the majority of the superintendent's performance," King said.

King listed Ludwig's achievements, from implementing an online K-12 system to navigating conversations with teacher association leaders and drafting a memorandum of understanding with the teacher's association to get students back to hybrid learning.

The recently concluded school year was Ludwig's fifth in her role as superintendent. "And, undoubtedly, the most difficult year that leadership in all systems across the globe have experienced," King said in her statement.

The board cited two areas of growth for Ludwig in their evaluation: communication and effective organizational management.

King said that while progress has been made on the topic of communication, the specific area of strategic and crisis communication needs to be developed. The board asked that Ludwig build a strategic plan for crisis communication that is proactive as well as responsive.

On the topic of organizational management, King said that Ludwig has a history of developing productive relationships with teacher's association leaders, which serves the district well, but that in an effort to preserve the goodwill in those relationships, Ludwig may have been less transparent and less effective in negotiating the MOU during the 2020-21 school year.

The board's evaluation process is framed by eight standards created by the Oregon School Board Association. The standards measure a superintendent's performance on a ratings scale.

King said that although cumulative feedback is given to Ludwig at the end of the academic year, the board also gave interim feedback throughout the year, using the eight standards as their benchmark.

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