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Cedar Falls school board extends superintendent's contract, boosts compensation nearly 6%

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Cedar Falls school board masks

The Cedar Falls Board of Education meets in the council chambers of City Hall last month.

CEDAR FALLS — The Board of Education is giving Superintendent Andy Pattee a larger boost in salary and benefits than it has in past years.

Board members on Monday extended his contract for three years and unanimously approved a $210,000 salary, part of a 5.73% increase in overall compensation. The higher salary, retroactive to July 1, is an increase of $8,222, or just over 4%.

Andy Pattee

Pattee

Board president Jeff Hassman highlighted some factors in determining the increase, which came out of several closed sessions during the past months to review Pattee’s job performance.

Since starting in the job of superintendent in 2013, Hassman noted, enrollment in Cedar Falls Community Schools has grown more than 600 students. He also pointed to the passage of bond issues that allowed for renovations at two elementary schools and construction of a new one. In addition, the district is now building a new high school.

Jeff Hassman

Hassman

Among the academic programming changes are the development of career education through the Center for Advanced Professional Studies and an online learning program. The district’s professional learning communities are also in the process of being enhanced for building staff.

“That’s occurring under your watch,” Hassman told Pattee. In addition, he said, is “the whole last 20 months. There was nothing in your superintendent’s handbook that says here’s how you deal with a pandemic.”

Besides salary, the superintendent is receiving a $5,000 contribution to his retirement plan, growing the total to $11,000. He also receives health insurance among the Cedar Falls Community Schools’ standard administrative benefits. Pattee’s $3,500 car allowance is unchanged from past years.

His total compensation package, not including insurance benefits, is growing $13,222 to $224,500. During the past two years, he received smaller salary and benefit increases of 2.87% and 2.53%. The year before that, Pattee requested no raise.

Another factor considered by the board is the peer groups of similar-sized Iowa school districts. Hassman said Pattee was “near the bottom” of this group of superintendents in compensation.

He acknowledged that the increase “may seem a little bit higher,” based on what the district has paid the superintendent in past years. However, “you have a tough job and the board thinks you’ve done well,” he told the superintendent.

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Board member Jenny Leeper hopes to see that good work continue. She said it’s “crucial” that in the midst of a growing community “we continue to have success and growth in our school district.”

Board member Alan Heisterkamp called Pattee a “life-long learner” who works well with district staff.

“That is to be applauded,” he said. “These jobs are hard and in the climate we’re currently operating in for education, it’s even more difficult.”

In other business, the board approved submitting a request to the state’s School Budget Review Committee for modified allowable growth of $1.15 million after expenditures for the special education program exceeded revenues during the past year. That would increase the unspent balance of the district’s authorized budget. The board can choose to fund this through its cash reserve levy.

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Education Reporter

I cover local schools and higher education for The Courier, where I’ve been a reporter for the past two decades. I’m a Minnesota native and have previously worked for newspapers there and in Illinois.

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