South Portland School Board gives superintendent 3-year contract, 3 % raise

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SOUTH PORTLAND — The School Board on Monday voted unanimously to extend Superintendent Suzanne Godin’s contract for another three years, even though her current contract doesn’t expire until June 31, 2011.

The new three-year contract, which takes effect July 1, 2011, was not immediately available, because it was still being drafted.

But board member and incoming Chairman Ralph Baxter said the new contract gives the superintendent a 3-percent raise, increasing her salary to $115,360 from $112,000.

Baxter said the board gave Godin a nearly 150-percent increase to her retirement stipend, from $6,000 a year to $14,000 a year. The increase was approved to bring Godin in line with other administrators, he said.

“That’s what all the administrators have,” he said. “She was lower than that.”

The board also increased Godin’s annuity by $2,500, from $5,000 year to $7,500, Baxter said. 

Godin will continue to receive $2,400 a year for in-state travel allowance, as well as receive a per-mile reimbursement for other travel at the Internal Revenue Services rate.

Baxter said the board conducted a performance evaluation of Godin in April, saying that the session was “very good.”

Meanwhile, Baxter would not comment about whether the board had any concerns about Godin’s request for a salary increase, or the other stipend increases approved by the board.

“There was no public comment about that,” Baxter said.

Godin said she believes the contract is an acknowledgement of the progress the district is making towards its goals.

“While we continue to face fiscal challenges, the board expressed an awareness that maintaining a zero increase over the past two years has put the South Portland superintendent salary significantly behind comparable districts,” Godin said.

Last year, the more than 300-member teachers’ union agreed to a wage freeze for the 2010-11 school year, in exchange for a raise the following year to be tied to the Consumer Price Index.

The Administrators’ Association, meanwhile, agreed to wage freezes for the last two years, before receiving a 2 percent raise this year, Baxter said.

“All I can tell you is what was said in public,” Baxter said. “In public, the board was very supportive of the superintendent.”

James Gilboy was the only board member to comment Monday night on the contract.

“There’s so much going on in the School Department and (Godin) has her thumb on everything,” Gilboy said. “I appreciate that.”

Since the contract language had not been written as on Monday, Baxter said the board will likely conduct a contract signing ceremony at the board’s next scheduled meeting.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net

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