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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.”

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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