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Also elects chair and vice chair, approves new contract for employees, educators

The West Linn-Wilsonville School Board met for a special board meeting on Wednesday, July 6.

Superintendent receives three-year contract

The board approved a new three-year contract for Superintendent Kathy Ludwig.

The board was presented with two different versions of contracts.

Option A reflected what was approved by the board during the June 6 meeting, which included a 10% salary increase to the superintendent's salary and all other parts of the contract stayed the same.

Option B proposed a three-year agreement, which also included the 10% increase but asked for an additional two vacation days, a built-in salary increase for the 2023-2024 school year and a request to review market data on salaries for the 2024-2025 academic year. A market analysis looks at similarly sized school districts nearby and compares salaries.

After asking some questions, the board members discussed their thoughts on the two contract options.

Board member Kristen Wyatt said she was leaning towards Option B as it "provides reassurance and stability."

"A multi-year contract (gives employees that comfort and stability) and then this also provides that reassurance that maybe we're going to get our salary up to being competitive in the region," she said.

Vice Chair Christy Thompson said she leaned towards Option A at this time due to potential underliers, such as next year's economy.

"I feel good about the 10% increase that we offered her this year, and I would be more than happy to add on the two additional vacation days. However, I'm really hesitant to go forward and promise something for next year," Thompson said. "Part of it is just also our fiduciary responsibility to our taxpayers and that everywhere every time we turn on the TV, we're hearing about the possibility of a recession, and we just have a lot of unstableness right now in our economy."

She also said that next year, she would still be open to the possibility of going through the same process and giving Ludwig another salary increase.

"This is the biggest increase that I've seen us give her since I've been on the board. I also think we have to think about our public, and I would be hard-pressed to think that many people in our public are getting a 10% raise this year in their jobs. And so that's just part of the consideration for me and again, I'm not saying that we wouldn't (increase her salary) again next year," Thompson said.

Board Chair Chelsea King said she was landing on the fence between both options. She said the 10% was necessary but asked about how the board can apply an "equity lens" in regards to the contracts and the significant increase with compensation.

King later said if Ludwig did become the highest-paid superintendent in the area due to the approval of Option B, then she would be comfortable with that based on the years of experience she has in the classroom and as an administrator and "leading through difficult times."

The board approved Contract B, though Thompson voted ''no." An evaluation of the superintendent will still be conducted next year.

New bargaining agreement for staff

The school board also approved a new agreement between the West Linn-Wilsonville Education Association bargaining team and the school district.

The two parties met seven times since April and reached a tentative agreement June 22. Waldern said that the new contract memorializes language negotiated in the 2021-2022 contract, but also includes updates to reflect the district's current practices while addressing financial increases for staff.

Some of the highlights from the contract include 150 additional minutes of non-student time for primary school teachers during school hours. Primary school dual-language educators will receive eight hours of pay per month for curriculum development and lesson planning. Secondary school dual-language educators will receive the same benefits as the primary teachers, plus an additional planning period.

The contract underlines an hourly rate for curriculum development work at $42.00 per hour. Educators who participate in non-teaching activity assignments will be compensated $27 per hour.

There will also be a 6% cost-of-living adjustment for the 2022-2023 academic year and a 4% COLA for 2023-2024.

Board member Kirsten Wyatt said she was in support of adopting the proposed contract.

"(It is) the best interest of all of our staff and also for our kids. (We) want to be known widely as a school district that values our employees and everyone that works in our schools," she said.

Familiar faces to serve as chair and vice chair next year

The board reelected King and Thompson to serve in their respective chair and vice chair roles for the upcoming academic year.

During the board meeting, the members participated in a brief election. Thompson motioned that King continue as the chair for the upcoming year. No other members nominated themselves or another member, and no one was in disagreement with King continuing to lead the group.

King nominated Thompson for vice chair, stating that her previous year in the position will help her move forward. No other members also appointed themselves or another member for the position, nor objected to Thompson serving another year as vice chair.

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