Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Washington Township School Superintendent James Mervilde Puts Himself First, Kids Nowhere in Sight

Over at Advance Indiana, Gary Welsh reports on the Washington Township (Marion County) putting himself first when it comes to a whopping pay increase to his already bloated salary. Worse yet he's trying to get a boost of $124,700 in his pension benefit.

Welsh states:
Washington Township Superintendent James Mervilde, who already has a salary and compensation benefit package worth more than a quarter million dollars annually, will see an increase in his annual salary of 7% and a $124,800 boost in his pension benefit, if the township's school board approves a proposed renegotiation of his salary and benefits at its meeting tomorrow night. This comes at a time the school district is expecting little or no additional state funding from the proposed state budget. Moreover, at least half of the school district's middle and elementary schools are failing at least one category of the state ISTEP test.

Dr. Mervilde is currently paid an annual salary of $171,600 under a contract that is set to expire on June 30, 2010. Mervilde exercised his right to renegotiate his current 3-year contract prior to its expiration. He is seeking an increase of 7% in his annual salary through June 30, 2011, taking it to $183,500. The biggest change, however, is in a proposed revision that will require taxpayers to purchase four years of credit time for Mervilde in the state teachers retirement system at a cost of $31,000 per year, or $124,000.

I'm told that this has become a common negotiating strategy for superintendents like Mervilde who are nearing retirement age to ask a school district to purchase credit time for purposes of calculating their retirement benefit. In lieu of a larger salary increase, the additional credit time the school district purchases on the school district official's behalf ensures a much higher retirement benefit for the employee. The school official is not taxed on the credit time purchase, enhancing its value to him or her greatly. These benefits are often not explained to the public to allow them to properly evaluate how much school officials are being paid.

School board member Greg Wright believes the nearly $200,000 salary and
benefits increase for Mervilde is too costly. “These are tough economic times for many in our community," Wright said. " Increasing any municipal employee’s employment contract by hundreds of thousands of dollars is simply outrageous.”

Superintendent Mervilde should be ashamed of his efforts to pad his own salary and benefits while residents in Washington Township struggle with unemployment, foreclosures, and high property taxes caused by the excessive spending in Washington Township Schools. It's too bad that Washington Township doesn't have more board members like Greg Wright, who is a true defender of taxpayers.

Contrary to what many people claim, this state's taxpayers haven't short-changed education. In fact we've dramatically increased education spending over the past few decades. The problem is the money often doesn't make it to the classroom, instead ending in the pockets of bloated administrative staff, which includes Superintendents like Mervilde.


Paul K. Ogden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melyssa said...

When schools talk about cuts do you ever notice how they spin the rhetoric toward children and teachers suffering?

NEVER, and I mean NEVER do they mention that they are going to have to cut administrators jobs, salary, or benefits.

Washington Township has one administrator for every three teachers. Their salaries are over $100k plus lavish benefit packages. Know any teachers that get similar comp packages?

I bet we would have better schools if teachers ran them.

Downtown Indy said...

Interesting. He no doubt believes he's a highly valuable asset to the school system and they need to pay to retain such talent.

Yet at the same time, he's lining up his ducks for a quicker retirement by getting 'credit'?

Umm, this is wierd.

Incidently, does anyone know what his performance metrics are going to be once his contract is renegotiated? He IS going to sign on for more great accomplishments for his part of the bargain, isn't he?

Diana Vice said...

Mervilde and the school board also bought into the AEPA no-bid scheme when they bought overpriced roof jobs with tax dollars. He does deserve something, but not a raise.

M Theory said...

Diana...Mervilde needs to be taken to the hall to be paddled!

Last I checked, you had a paddle, right?