Editorial: Superintendent contract is reasonableEven after giving Superintendent Jane Berenz a raise this week, District 196 is paying less in salary for the position than it was before she took over three years ago
There seemed to be little debate Monday night about whether District 196 superintendent Jane Berenz deserves the raise school board members gave her. Board members have been happy with Berenz’s performance since she took over the job a little less than three years ago. Even Mike Roseen, the lone board member who opposed the raise, said he approved of the work Berenz has done.
The argument, then, is whether anybody in the district should get a raise, and just what counts as a raise.
Berenz has not received an increase in compensation since she took the job. Even with the raise she will make less for at least the first year of her new contract than her predecessor in the position made in his final year. Whether Berenz gets a raise in future years of the contract will be up to school board members.
You can debate whether Berenz’s pay freeze is the same as those agreed to by other employee groups, who can still increase their compensation by virtue of the number of years they have spent in the district. But that isn’t really the point.
Ultimately, the question should not be about whether Berenz is treated exactly like the district’s other employees. It should be about whether Berenz is herself being treated fairly. A contract that rewards good work while still keeping the district below what it was paying for the position three years ago — and below what many other similar districts pay their superintendent — seems reasonable.
That might not be the case if the district was still in a position where it was making tens of millions of dollars worth of budget cuts, but that’s not the case any more. Finances have stabilized.
All things considered, we think the new contract makes sense.