Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills District 181 extends superintendent contract
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:09AM
HINSDALE — Two Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 Board members who voted Nov. 12 against an approved contract extension for Superintendent Renee Schuster did so for very different reasons.
The board approved a two-year extension, though June 30, 2015. Schuster initially was hired in December 2009 and began work in District 181 with a three-year contract that started July 1, 2010.
Board members Brendan Heneghan and Yvonne Mayer voted against the contract extension. Board President Michael Nelson voted in favor of the extension as did board members Sarah Lewensohn, Marty Turek, and Glenn Yaeger. Board member Russell Rhoads was absent.
The extension calls for an annual salary of $220,747 for 2013-14, an increase of 3 percent from $214,317 in 2012-13.
Heneghan voted against the contract extension because he was unable to persuade the board to agree to change the part of Schuster’s contract that calls for District 181 to pay the superintendent’s 1.45 percent Medicare tax. The district does that for its administrators, but not for any other employees, Heneghan said.
“I think it’s wrong for us to be paying that 1.45 percent; it’s wrong if we make other employees pay that themselves,” he said.
Heneghan suggested increasing Schuster’s salary enough to cover the amount of the Medicare payment.
“I have no problem with the total amount for her being the same, but I just don’t like that we are paying that Medicare tax when we don’t do it for all of our employees,” he said. “I would have voted for the extension if we had made that change.”
That’s not the case for Mayer, who called her no vote “a vote of no confidence in this current superintendent.”
Mayer said she believes there have been too many delays in the board receiving reports and other information from administrators to warrant a contract extension for Schuster. She also said there has been considerable criticism from District 181 parents about many administrative functions in the district.
“There have been a number of delays in getting things,” she said. “This vote is premature because we still have a lot of issues.”
Nelson didn’t think voting on the contract extension was premature.
“We’ve been discussing this for almost two months, and we believe Dr. Schuster is taking this district in the right direction,” he said.
“Dr. Schuster’s decisions haven’t been perfect, but I’m confident we’re moving forward. She’s put in some bold initiatives that will put the district in a good place.”