No public comments made on proposed one-year contract extension for Fort Wayne Community Schools superintendent

No one from the public spoke at the public hearing the Fort Wayne Community Schools board held Monday night regarding giving a one-year contract extension to Superintendent Wendy Robinson. The board will vote on the proposal during a special meeting Dec. 18. (Courtesy photo)

The Fort Wayne Community Schools board of school trustees invited public comment Monday night on the proposal to give Superintendent Wendy Robinson a one-year contract extension through June 30, 2020.

No one took them up on the offer during the public hearing portion of the board’s meeting at 6 p.m. at Grile Administrative Center, 1200 S. Clinton St.

School board members plan to vote on whether to approve the contract extension during a special meeting at 5 p.m. Dec. 18 at Grile Administrative Center.

The one-year extension would continue Robinson’s annual salary at its current amount of $210,164 per year. That is the same salary she has received since the 2014-2015 school year.

With health insurance, life insurance, retirement and other benefits, the one-year extension would have a total value of $278,807 to $293,807 for the year, depending on some conditional payments. Those totals are about $1,750 more than the total value of her current annual compensation and benefits.

The FWCS school board voted in December 2016 to approve Robinson’s current contract, which was retroactive to July 1, 2016, and runs through June 30, 2019.

While no one from the public spoke at the hearing, board members did make a few comments.

Board President Julie Hollingsworth and Vice-President Steve Corona both voiced support for the contract extension.

“Good superintendents are hard to find, and we have a good one,” Corona said.

The terms of Robinson’s contract extension are reasonable, he said. FWCS is the biggest school district in the state, but Robinson isn’t the most well-paid superintendent.

Board member Glenna Jehl, District 2, said she felt “a little conflicted” about the contract extension.

The board just approved Robinson’s current contract last December, and Jehl said she would have preferred to wait to consider a contract extension so board members can see how the next two years go.

Though she praised Robinson for doing a good job and for working hard, Jehl also said she believes the school district hasn’t placed enough emphasis on improving academic achievement.

In other business, the board:

• Renewed an administration contract with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, effective Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2018, as third-party administrator of the FWCS Group Health Plan. Administrative fees increased 3.5 percent, or about $44,683, and reinsurance premiums increased about 16 percent, or about $292,443, for a total cost of $3,436,292 for administrative fees and reinsurance premiums on a health plan of more than $51 million.

Employees’ health insurance coverage costs increased 9 percent, said Krista Stockman, FWCS public information officer.

• Approved hiring Environmental Assurance Co. for $367,000 to remove and abate asbestos at Washington Center Elementary School. Work will be done during breaks when children are not at the school, said Darren Hess, FWCS director of facilities.

The work will start during the upcoming Christmas break and be done in phases, to be completed by late summer 2019, Hess said.

Typical locations of the asbestos are adhesives for chalk boards and floor tiles, floor tiles themselves, insulation on pipes and in the school’s exterior wall panels, he said.