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Superintendent Kathy Ludwig aims to freeze raise, put money into scholarship fund

After working as the superintendent for the West Linn-Wilsonville School District for three years, Kathy Ludwig has created a districtwide operation plan in case of a school emergency, involved parents during the adoption of the new health and wellness curriculum and worked on the redesign of Arts and Technology High School.

These were just a few of Ludwig's accomplishments during the 2018-19 school year that were highlighted in the superintendent evaluation presented to the public June 10.

"I just want to make it clear that all those things you mentioned don't happen just because the superintendent says to do it," said Ludwig during the June 10 school board meeting, who then gave credit and thanks to district administration. "I couldn't do it without them."

The superintendent evaluation, which was completed over the course of the school year by WL-WV Vice Chair Dylan Hydes, acted as a collective voice for all five members of the school board and rated Ludwig in each of the nine categories outlined by the Oregon School Board Association. The nine categories cover visionary leadership, policy and governance, communications and community relations, effective management, curriculum planning and development, instructional leadership, resource management, ethical leadership and labor relations.

"One thing we appreciate is the innovation we have seen from Dr. Ludwig and her team," Hydes said. "For example, with the redesign of Art Tech High School, it was killing two birds with one stone. We wanted to solve the problem of overcrowded high schools but also it increases the availability of career and technical education."

The school board also credited Ludwig on her ethics, which they say she models with dignity, compassion and respect — often deescalating stressful situations — and her work around the 2019 capital bond that the district intends to put on the November ballot.

The evaluation also highlighted areas for improvement. The board said they wanted further improvement around community relations and having a two-way dialogue between the district and the community — though the board acknowledges there's already been an increase in outreach to the community with the addition of the district's communication director.

The board also would like a clearer idea of what exactly the role is of the communications director.

Hydes said that when there is a hot button issue, the district wants to make sure all people are heard and represented.

Another area of improvement was around inclusive classrooms and the uncertainty the public has expressed about what's being done around to remedy disruptions in the classrooms.

"The board wants assurances of what steps are being taken to ensure the earning of all students is being protected (and) if additional resources are needed, let's talk about that," Hydes said.

The board then extended Ludwig's three-year contract out another year through 2022 and rewarded her with a 4% raise — the same as last year — which the board said is in line with salary increases for administrative employees in similar-sized districts.

Ludwig said she wanted to put 3% of her raise into a scholarship fund for first generation college students.

"I'm humbled by the offer in the contract (but) to me, the acknowledgement of work well done would be going into that scholarship fund. It's something near and dear to my heart," Ludwig said. "That would be a great acknowledgement that you mentioned about the work being done this year, so I would take that as my thanks."

Board Chair Ginger Fitch said the board is unsure about the legal logistics of freezing Ludwig's salary and putting her raise into a scholarship fund.

"We will figure it out," Ludwig said.

Specific terms with Ludwig's contract have yet to be finalized and Ludwig said administration is working out the logistics of how to write the scholarship fund into her contract.

Reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-479-2384.

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