A five-year contract and raise to $116,840 have been extended to Oberlin City Schools superintendent David Hall.
“It’s critical to state that this board has a good respect for Dr. Hall and the work he’s doing,” said board of education president Anne Schaum.
Elected officials, voting unanimously for the salary bump, said the district has made strides since he was hired two years ago from the Lorain Schools where he was assistant superintendent. Board member Barry Richard said Hall is growing into the job.
The salary increase is tied to the consumer price index. The cost of living adjustment is a contractual obligation.
“It’s been a phenomenal two years here and I truly love the area. It’s not about the money. It’s not about the prestige. It’s about the kids in the community. We’re doing good work here,” Hall said.
The increases came with challenges from the public at a June 27 meeting.
“People are working for less. Most of us haven’t had a real raise for 25 years. The fastest way to have a raise in Oberlin is to work for the board of education,” said resident Kenneth Yancey.
“I think this is way too much,” he said, calling for a one- or two-year contract with lower pay.
Hall’s rate is higher than many neighboring districts, according to salary information available through the Ohio treasurer’s office. The Amherst Schools, with 3,700 students, pays superintendent Steven Sayers $98,719. Keystone pays Franco Gallo $112,750. And Firelands pays Michael Von Gunten $112,200.
On the upper end of the scale, Cleveland Municipal Schools superintendent Eric Gordon earns $239,200 annually.
Resident Debbi Walsh questioned the length of Hall’s contract, saying three years is standard.
Schaum replied that continuity is important for the district. School board members may come and go, in which case having Hall remain constant would be a boon.
“If we have confidence in this superintendent, I think five years makes a good statement,” she said.
A student, Isabelle Olaes, objected to any vote for wage increases or contracts until the Oberlin school system’s state report card scores improve.
She read down the grades the district received this past year: a C for achievement, an F in helping students from vulnerable populations, a C is student growth, an F in literacy among kindergarten to third grade students, a B for graduation rates, and a C grade for how well graduates are prepared for work or college.
“If I came home with that report card, I’d be in trouble,” Olaes said.
Richard took exception to any portrayal that the district “is in chaos” but admitted Oberlin needs to “do a little better.”
“I’m proud of what we do. I think we’ve made great strides over the last 10 years,” he said, citing the implementation of International Baccalaureate, strong union cooperation, and excellent teachers.
Oberlin district treasurer Angela Dotson also receive a cost of living raise to $93,840 per year.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.