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Waterloo school board extends superintendent's contract, gives her 4% raise
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Waterloo school board extends superintendent's contract, gives her 4% raise

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McNally

WATERLOO — The Board of Education extended Superintendent Jane Lindaman’s contract Monday and increased her salary by $9,220.

The board approved a three-year contract and the 4% increase on her annual pay in a unanimous vote.

Lindaman’s salary is rising to $239,704 retroactive to July 1. In addition, the board added $5,000 to her tax-sheltered annuity, for a total of $19,209.

With the addition of a $7,000 car allowance, which is unchanged from past years, her total compensation will be $265,913. That’s a 5.32% increase when her salary and those benefits are included.

Lindaman is in her eighth year as superintendent of Waterloo Community Schools.

“I strongly support this contract,” said board member Lyle Schmitt, citing a leadership challenge during the past year that was “in a class by itself.” The “decisions came fast and furious,” he noted, while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. “The question becomes, ‘What was the result?’”

Schmitt contended that Lindaman made good decisions in the areas of contagious disease, academics, and students’ social and emotional welfare. He cited her actions as exhibiting “accountability and agility.”

For example, he explained, “I was initially bothered by the virtual program we purchased” that allowed students to learn online remotely if their families chose that option. However, when concerns arose, Schmitt said that program was “quickly abandoned” and an in-house virtual learning program was put in place.He added that under her leadership the district compiled comprehensive data on all students and worked closely with health officials. Administrators implemented social distancing, mask usage, and contact tracing last year as well as providing access to the vaccine for employees and eligible students.

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“Jane made many prudent decisions in largely uncharted waters,” said Schmitt, while keeping “the focus on what’s best for students.”

Board member Shanlee McNally also praised Lindaman for her navigation of the pandemic during the past year. She noted that on Sept. 1 the board held the superintendent’s annual performance review. “It is the best review that Jane has received,” said McNally.

Board members use Iowa Standards for School Leaders to assess her. The standards measure an administrator’s shared learning vision, culture of learning, management, family and community relationships, ethics, and ability to work in the societal context. The board also considers more than 40 metrics covering various aspects of district leadership and student achievement, which are primarily designed for setting a portion of Lindaman’s salary every year.

“I’ve been a real advocate of that,” said board member Sue Flynn. While some of those were considered in setting Lindaman’s salary, the board looked more broadly at her overall performance this year. Flynn noted that it “didn’t make sense” to apply some of those metrics this year because of limitations students faced due to COVID-19 that affected their achievement.

In addition, “we did take into consideration what our other (employee) groups got,” said Flynn.

An April contract with the Waterloo Education Association, which represents staff including teachers, contained a 3.59% increase in salaries and non-insurance benefits. In June, the district’s non-bargaining administrative support and administrator staff received a 3.5% salary and benefit increase.

“I am very appreciative of your leadership, it doesn’t go unnoticed,” board member Astor Williams told Lindaman. “I think the compensation was definitely well-deserved.”

In other business, the board approved:

  • Hiring the Ahlers & Cooney law firm to represent Waterloo Schools in a lawsuit filed by Arc of Iowa on behalf of parents of children with disabilities in this and nine other districts. EMC Insurance requested that the nine districts which use their services all hire the same law firm. The suit relates to a state law banning mask mandates in schools.
  • The $210,825 purchase of 54 Promethean ActivPanel interactive displays plus 53 height adjustable stands and a mobile stand for preschool through fifth-grade classrooms at the new Lowell Elementary School, opening in January.
  • A $23,436 change order on the $717,559 Lowell furniture purchase, allowing the district to buy a brand of ottoman with patterned fabric. Another brand with a lower price had been initially chosen but officials later learned the patterned fabric was not available.
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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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