New PPS board: ‘More activism, involvement’

School board previously approved 28% pay raise for Superintendent Smith

Four new Portland Public Schools board members were elected Tuesday night, May 19, 2015. (KOIN 6 News)
Four new Portland Public Schools board members were elected Tuesday night, May 19, 2015. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Four new Portland Public Schools board members were elected Tuesday night, and on Wednesday one of them told KOIN 6 News the community can expect more activism and involvement on their part.

One of the big issues school board voters took into consideration was the recent pay increases for top administrators working for Portland Public Schools.

“I think the increases were certainly too much, but more importantly, the process that went into them was not adequate,” incoming school board member Paul Anthony said.

Last summer, the school board approved a 28% pay raise for Superintendent Carole Smith, bringing her annual salary to $247,000. The district’s chief financial officer received an 18.5% raise for a salary of $160,000, and the chief human resources officer received a 17% pay increase for a salary just over $146,000.

Anthony said the hefty pay raises all happened with limited input from the school board. He said the board was caught flat-footed when the pay raises became public.

The district said Superintendent Smith and the board have agreed to an audit to judge the merits of the pay raises. The district also said Smith worked for 8 years without a pay raise. Officials claim her current salary comes with extra responsibility.

KOIN 6 News discovered Salem-Keizer’s Superintendent Christy Perry makes $189,000 a year, and Beaverton’s Superintendent Jeff Rose has a salary of $193,000.

“The part that sticks in my craw is that she met 2 out of the 6 of her performance milestones, and she received a 28% raise,” newly-elected board member Amy Kohnstamm said.

New board members have already said they are prepared to be more active and inquisitive when it comes to administrative pay at the top levels of Portland Public Schools.

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