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December 18, 2013
PERRYDALE — The Perrydale School Board approved the necessary qualifications and salary range for its next superintendent at its meeting Monday night.
Perrydale's next superintendent will also serve as a building principal, as current superintendent and elementary school principal Robin Stoutt does. However, the board did not specifically name which principal duties — high school or elementary school — in an effort to encourage as many candidates to apply.
Board member Trina Comerford said the focus first should be on finding the right superintendent for the district, then determining what other responsibilities best fit that candidate's background and skills.
"I don't want to limit it," she said. "I don't want somebody to not apply because the description says 'elementary.'"
The board approved the qualifications, which were partially based on feedback from community members, students and school staff, on a unanimous vote.
Approving a salary range proved to be much more difficult.
Search consultant Mike Taylor, with West Linn-based Window to Leadership, presented the board with superintendent salaries and other benefits from 2012-13 for districts of approximately the same size in the region for the board to consider. Of districts of similar size, the salaries ranged from $80,000 to $120,000. However, years of experience was not included in the report. Stoutt, with 10 years of experience, earns $97,416 annually.
Taylor recommended a salary range of $100,000 to $110,000 to attract qualified candidates.
Board member Lisa Mitchell and Comerford — along with a few members of the audience Monday — felt that was too high considering Perrydale's financial outlook. Both preferred the low end starting salary at $90,000.
Comerford said she was concerned the district wouldn't be able to afford to pay its superintendent that much and still keep its promise of remaining a 1A high school. That could mean gradually decreasing enrollment, and therefore, state funding.
"I want the dollar amount to be attractive, but we have to be fiscally responsible with that offer," Comerford said.
Others on the board worried establishing a range that is too low would discourage good candidates.
"I think $95,000 to $105,000 is going to end up what we are going to have to pay," Board member John Cruickshank said.
Stoutt added interested candidates she talked with about the job may not think it was worth leaving their current positions for $90,000.
The board narrowly approved a salary range of $95,000 to $110,000, with Mitchell voting "no" and Comerford abstaining. Board members Cruickshank and Tim Calonder voted to approve it.