Northwest Allen County Schools board members have renewed their superintendent’s contract without a raise – a move they say has nothing to do with his performance.
The board extended Superintendent Chris Himsel’s contract for three years at the June 25 meeting, agreeing to pay him $145,000 a year with a $5,000 annuity – the same package he received last year. Board President Ron Felger said he would like to increase Himsel’s salary, but it wasn’t appropriate in light of the pay freeze affecting the district’s employees.
“This is absolutely no reflection on the board’s satisfaction with the job he’s doing,” Felger said. “It’s recognition of the fiscal situation the district is in. We think he’s doing an exemplary job.”
Last spring and summer, the NACS board approved a 3 percent pay reduction for all staff and eliminated all longevity-based pay increases. The pay freezes are slated to last through the coming school year.
At the time, Himsel said the move would allow the district to avoid layoffs, provided there was no unexpected decrease in state education funding. Himsel has said the pay deductions have helped the district close the gap in its deficit.
Himsel said he would not have felt comfortable taking a raise in light of the sacrifices made by his employees.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “There’s no question. That’s what you do.”
Himsel joined NACS in July 2010. According to his contract, he was set to earn $155,000 annually, including base salary and an annuity. But he accepted a 3 percent pay cut in 2011.
In 2011, Himsel was the fourth-highest paid education official in Allen County. He trailed behind Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Wendy Robinson, who earned $211,355; Southwest Allen County Superintendent Steve Yager, who earned $188,500; and East Allen County Schools Superintendent Karlyle Green, who earned $156,000.