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Superintendent Receives “Glowing” Evaluation, 4 Percent Raise

Board of Education Praise Superintendent Jerome Belair In His Annual Evaluation

Thursday night, the Board of Education gave Superintendent Jerome Belair a “glowing” report for his annual evaluation, extended his contract until 2015 and gave him a four percent pay increase.

The Board of Education reviews itself and the superintendent at the end of every school year, and can set the salary for the superintendent at whatever it wants. This year, as has been the practice, the board gave Belair the same raise all of the district’s administrators received, four percent, which will increase his annual salary from $198,442 to $206,380.

“I think this board does what is correct, not what is politically expedient,” Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen McCarty said. “And what is the right thing to do. And that’s what we did tonight.”

McCarty said Belair has saved the district “millions of dollars” in the last year by and by reaching a that gives a 1.75 percent raise in the first year but comes with concessions in the teachers' health insurance plan. McCarty said Belair's raise was a small amount of money when you consider how much money the superintendent has saved the district.

“This is a minimal amount when you look at it in the grand scope of things, it is a small amount of money,” McCarty said. “Four percent is really misleading because it is really, it is a small amount of additional money.”

The Board of Education voted 8 to 1 to extend Belair’s contract and give him a 4 percent raise. Board member Sheri Cote, a democrat, was the sole member to vote against the raise.

Full Story

Belair after former superintendent Randall Collins, who was the head of Waterford’s schools for 20 years, . Belair, who was superintendent in Weston and was making more than $230,000 a year, was hired at the same salary Collins was being paid, $198,442 per year.

Belair officially took over , and was thrust in the middle of one of Waterford’s most challenging budget years. In March of 2011, , forcing the district to have to cut more

This school year, Belair strove to control the two costs that were increasing at the most significant rate: employee salaries and health insurance. In October, he negotiated that gave the town’s educators annual raises of 1.75 percent, 2 percent and 2 percent, but the contract also came with concessions from the teachers on their health insurance plan and future retirement benefits.

Belair and his staff, along with the municipal government, bid out the town’s health insurance plan in January. Last year, health insurance costs increased $1.6 million within the district – the largest increase in the school budget – under the town’s self-insured plan.

The district and the municipal government, which is all covered by the same health insurance plan, eventually agreed on a fully indemnified plan that will increase health care costs 8 percent this year, compared to more than 30 percent the year before. Belair is also in negotiations with four other bargaining groups under the Board of Education, and while the contracts of all four expired at the beginning of the month there is currently no settlement on any.

In March, the Board of Education under Belair , a 3 percent increase over last year's $42.9 million total. The board , some of which were victims of budget cuts in 2011.

McCarty said Belair has been a strong leader, and was thankful for the work he has done. She said the board gave him high marks in all the areas that they grade him in.

“The board gave a very glowing report of the superintendent of schools in all the areas we examine thoroughly,” McCarty said. “The board is very appreciative to the superintendent for many, many dollars that have been saved for the district this past year.”

The Raise

Facing a tough budget year, the district’s administrators agreed to a wage That delayed their raise one year, meaning this year they will receive raises of 4 percent.

The Board of Education generally gives the superintendent the same raise the town’s administrators are given, McCarty said. McCarty also pointed out that the Board of Education did not give Belair , six months after he was hired.

Belair said the raise will not affect his ability to negotiate with the district’s unions because he is just receiving what is due to the administrators. Belair added that the town’s elected officials, which includes the first selectman, are

“All administrators went through a freeze,” Belair said. “So we were the only bargaining group. And the practice here from the board has been to align the central office administrators with the (administrators') contract.”

Sarah orr July 05, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Make the teachers take cuts but their boss not? Sounds wrong to me
Robert Williams July 05, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Shouldn't he receive what the teachers receive? Where is leadership by example? Obviously not there
Dave July 05, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Kathleen McCarty has to go in the next election. She is another Donald Blevins. This Board of Education always seems to make cuts from the bottom up and never top down.
Cindy Jordan July 05, 2012 at 08:38 PM
How nice that he got a raise and after 4 years of service with Waterford Public Schools I still make the same per hour.
Property Owner July 05, 2012 at 11:19 PM
^his is a very bad example of leadership. Layoff teachers and get a raise. The board should be ashamed. I keep hearing the town has no money. Perhaps the board needs to "educate" themselves (no pun intended) on the current financial situation our country is in.
Robert Williams July 06, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Boards of Educations take care of upper management. They hire their puppets and give raises to the highest paid. What about the people that make up the system? Obviously, the board doesn't believe in equal treatment. Evidence shows here
Cheryl L July 06, 2012 at 12:20 PM
If the BOE passed a budget that was air tight and included only necessary increases and no padding, how will it be able to pay the 4% raise to Mr. Belair?
Property Owner July 06, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Because this town is becoming a joke. Lie to taxpayers, lay off teachers, and give the a 4% raise to the Superintendent. Who cares.... it's only money. :/
Equineone July 06, 2012 at 01:42 PM
AMAZING... I have a child in the waterford school system... and I can promise you, this man is not doing his job. Other than a select few fabulous teachers over the years, the majority of the "educators" are sadly lacking. I agree with the other 9 who have commented, the money could be and SHOULD be better spent on increasing the salaries of the teachers who are innovative and actually educating our kids, and bettering programs within the school. I have not seen any benefit in leadership that warrants a 4% raise, or any raise for that matter. He saved the town money so he could get it in his raise, to the detrement of our childrens educations. It's politics pure and simple, and has nothing to do with what is best for this town or it's students.
Waterford Rez July 06, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Humm, One vote against it. A Dem. The same Dems who historically support Unions, Unions which are breaking the backs of towns, cities and states all across this country. So yes to ridiculous and lavish pensions and benefits to the worker bees but no to the white collar administrators. This theme sounds familiar. Class warfare at it's purest. The guy is responsible for a 40 million dollar budget, hundreds of employees and over a thousand students. Give me an equivalent at Pfizer's, EB or any where else and see if you get a $208k salary. I don't think so. He puts in about 60-70 hours a week and has a solid track record. Is he perfect? Who is? He has saved this town a lot of money is receiving a monitory reward. You all sound like a bunch of jealous haters. Sad. Yes, the public education system is broke and needs to be scrapped but that is mostly due to massive fed and state government interference and the general breakdown of the family system, sending spoiled, lazy and entitled kids through the system then wondering why the "education system" can't fix them.
Cheryl L July 06, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I'd like to suggest that the Dem that voted against this is the same one who pushed the BOE to create a finance committee to examine its own budget in detail to see if, and where, it could save money. An idea that had to be harped over several months get the Board to adopt the idea. To pin this BOE member with the same ole "democrats support unions and promote class warfare" blah blah blah is a disservice and a typical Republican election year rant.
Anthony July 06, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I just started looking at Waterford new but if this stuff was going on in my town I would be asking questions. Maybe mr. Belair is a great superintendent, but taking a 4% raise in this day and age while everyone else takes much less just sends a bad message and probably will affect how people see him from now on. Other news items bothered me. Why is your high school principal getting a 100K golden handshake? If he retires now at his "75%" and collects a full salary to stick around until they find someone, why didn't he just stay on for another year/retire at the end of the year? Some dedication to the kids! Maybe that money could have funded sports. Also, there was an article (that was rewritten and changed) that stated that the BOE settled a grievance by t eh teachers and the amount was 183K to fix that. Fix what? If the system took money out of thier paockes and they proved it, OK. Bigger question....who screwed up to begin with? NOBODY in my company who mad a 183K mistake would still have a job. Why are people in Waterford not asking these questions?
Robert Williams July 06, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Look at each line item in education budget. They pad it. Line items like travel expenses. Look hard and careful, hold the board of education accountable
John Sheehan July 07, 2012 at 01:06 AM
The General Government BOF and RTM only have bottom line approval of the BOE budget. What goes on inside the budget is controlled by the BOE. The BOE is not required to give line by line accountability to the general government, only the bottom line. That is why the lone no vote on the BOE has been pushing for a financial committee on the BOE to do the line by line review that the BOF does for the general government budgets.
farm guy July 30, 2012 at 12:58 AM
This has nothing to do with unions. Belair has a contract with the BOE and is not in the teachers' union.. He spends his days trying to dismantle the teachers' contract. Remember his first act in Waterford? He bought himself very expensive furniture and now a 4 %raise on his $200,000 salary. Let's keep bashing the teachers.
Daniella Ruiz July 30, 2012 at 05:29 AM
evaluating themselves? that sounds like 'the fox is guarding the hen house', and with virtually no oversight by the town to police this autonomous board, that now seems to reward it's own before returning taxpayer monies (in lieu of accounting trickery), we have another example of abuse of power (knowledge is power, remember). tossing big numbers about, expecting the multitude of taxpayers to not understand the concept of 'scale' does seem a tad reckless, even arrogant or, sadly, even condescending.
farm guy August 04, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Boy, Waterford Rez, is your last paragraph spot on!
fedspy August 23, 2012 at 03:07 PM
you all are talking about an education bureacracy that has been built up over the years by the education union and supported by the state thru laws and statutes. get rid of collective bargaining, and have a reasonable referendum process that lets voters have their say on the budget. . i believe you have a whole department of counselors who get paid more than the classroom teacher, but dont teach due to state statue. crazy. lay off classroom teachers but keep staff who dont teach. you need to change the infrastructure of the education system to make it efficient. i am a lancer, and have a degree in education, and business, and have taught at cohanzie, my elementary school, clark lane, and the high school in the 1970's, yup, a long time ago, but still have a teacher friend. i am totally for the classroom teacher, but salaries have to be in reason, the question is, what is reasonable ? let the taxpayers decide. also , how about eliminating tenure, and have performance based upon performance ? the board of educations in ct. are notorious for savings pennies, but continue to spend dollars, and then punish the students by eliminating the sports programs. things have to change at the state level concerning education requirements, such as the education budget cannot not be reduced by its previous budgets, votes by your representatives, Ms. Stillman, for example,.have to change these requirements, otherwise all this complaining is useless rhetoric, blah, blah, and blah.

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