School board approves new contract for Plugge

By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY — The Iowa City school board has extended the contract of Superintendent Lane Plugge by one year with no salary increase.

The board unanimously approved the move late last night after a closed session for Plugge’s annual review, board President Toni Cilek said Wednesday.

Plugge works on a three-year contract, which now runs through June 30, 2012. He will be paid $174,021 for the year that begins July 1, which is what he currently makes, said Jim Pedersen, the district’s human resources director. There were no other changes in Plugge’s contract.

Pluggeand other district administrators asked that their base salaries remain the same next year because of the district’s financial woes. The district has been cutting services and a few employees in an effort to save $6 million over the next two years.

Administrators other than Plugge will see their total packages go up by 1.4 percent to cover increases in benefits they pay, Pedersen said.

Plugge in March asked the teachers union to restructure its existing contract, a request the union denied. That contract calls for teachers to get a 5 percent salary and benefits increase on July 1.

Plugge had received a salary increase of 6.5 percent last year and 7.5 percent the year before that. Cilek said the lack of a pay raise this year was due only to Plugge’s request and the budget concerns.

“I think the board is satisfied with his performance,” she said. “Obviously, we’ve had a lot of difficult issues.”

In addition to the budget cuts, which school officials say were necessitated by the recession and being shorted on spending authority by the state, the district has dealt with calls for a new high school in North Liberty and the growing enrollment disparity between West High and City High.

In another contentious issue, the board voted unanimously last night in support of Plugge’s recommendation to close Roosevelt Elementary School and build a new school a few miles to the west.

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