Ashland schools chief receives raise after strong review

ASHLAND — Schools Superintendent Juli Di Chiro will receive a 2 percent raise, bringing her salary to $118,860, for next academic year, the School Board decided after giving her high marks in her annual review.

Other labor contracts approved by the board last week call for a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase for classified staff members and a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for teachers for the next academic year.

The board gave Di Chiro a written evaluation and also rated her performance using a grade-point-average system, giving her a 3.87 GPA overall, equivalent to an "A" grade.

"She's a great superintendent and we're very, very fortunate to have her," said board member Carol Davis. "We want to compensate her so that she is as well compensated as the superintendents in districts similar to ours."

Di Chiro received 3.6 in the shared educational vision category; 4.0 in instructional leadership; 3.8 in communications and community relations; 4.0 in budget, finance and facilities management; 3.8 in human resources and labor management; and 4.0 in policy and governance.

Last spring the board gave Di Chiro a 3.75 GPA for the 2008-09 school year.

Di Chiro, the highest paid district employee, received $112,816 during the academic year that just ended. Her salary was set at $116,529, but because of furlough days, she took home less money, along with all other district employees.

Her raise is based on the amount she was scheduled to be paid last academic year, not the amount she actually made, said board Chairman Keith Massie. The raises for teachers and classified staff members were calculated the same way, he said.

"For this next year, we decided we were going to make every effort possible to have a full school year for the kids and pay the superintendent, the teachers, the secretaries and the janitors their full pay," Massie said.

The board also renewed Di Chiro's contract for three more academic years, through June 2013, and slightly adjusted some of her benefits to account for inflation. She will now receive a $60 monthly cell phone allowance, roughly double what she used to receive, and a $400 monthly ground transportation allowance, up from $300, Massie said.

Di Chiro said she felt the new contract was "very fair." All salary agreements for district employees will be renegotiated next spring, because it's possible the district will face a budget shortfall, resulting in pay cuts or furlough days, she said.

"All of the contracts that the board approved have only a one-year salary agreement because it's so uncertain what the next biennium's going to look like," she said.

Davis said the board felt it was appropriate to give Di Chiro a raise, despite the fact that it made cuts in other areas because of a shortfall in state funding. The board voted to cut $1.1 million from the district's budget for next academic year because of the funding gap.

"We have to be fiscally prudent and aware of our own economic situation, so the increase we gave her was very, very modest," Davis said.

Di Chiro's salary for last academic year was lower than that of most superintendents in districts similar to Ashland, Massie said. The superintendent of the Eagle Point School District, which is roughly the same size as Ashland, is scheduled to be paid about $121,000, he said.

With the 2 percent raise, Di Chiro's salary will be "close to what average is," Massie said.

Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-482-3456 ext. 226 or e-mail

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