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Supe's salary tops $238k with raise

Unlike others, district did not issue pink slips
By: Laura Newell, Telegraph Correspondent
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While schools are getting ready for the new school year, one chief is getting a pay boost. Sherry Smith, El Dorado Union High School District superintendent, will be receiving a 4 percent raise. Calls to the superintendent’s office were directed to the Board of Trustees. Smith will be receiving $238,842 with the pay raise including all of her benefits, for the academic year 2010-2011, said Mary Muse, third year president of the Board of Trustees. “In her contract we negotiated with her that if she had a satisfactory performance then she was entitled to a 4 percent pay increase,” said Muse, of El Dorado Hills. “It was negotiated several years ago. She has been with us for six years.” Muse said Smith’s performance evaluation indicated that she has met all of her goals. Her contract allowed for a 4 percent pay raise if she met her goals. “We are one of the few districts in California that has not issued pink slips,” Muse said. “She has successfully geared us and directed us to manage our budget with the result that we had enough resources to cover the financial crisis in California up to this point.” Muse said the district is one of the top-ranked districts for student achievement in the region. She said this ranking is a direct result to Smith’s ability to work with the teachers and administration. Locals weigh in on Smith’s pay raise. “I think it’s very appropriate. Sherry’s leadership is impeccable. It was well deserved,” said Steve Wehr, Oak Ridge High School principal. Recent Folsom High School graduate Annie Smith, 18, said she was upset to hear about the raise. “I want to know how many classes were cut at Oak Ridge High School,” Smith said. “Personally I don’t know how it corresponds with Oak Ridge, but as a Folsom graduate, I don’t think a superintendent deserves a raise because more money should be going into the school, not one single person.” Smith plans to attend community college next semester to study liberal arts education. She said many elective classes and programs were cut from her high school experience and she fears it will continue to happen to future students. “Soon we will only be taking math, science and English — just the core classes with no electives,” she said. Wehr said in every academic school year, there is a selection of electives. “Every year there are adjustments due to student’s needs and desires,” Wehr said. He said one elective program that is continuing to flourish in the upcoming year is the career technical education program including manufacturing engineering programs. “We started last year with one section of 30 students, and this year we have (expanded into) two sections with 60 students,” Wehr said. “Here is an example of a continuing development due to her leadership.” William Ek, 60, said he moved his family to El Dorado Hills last September from Los Angeles for the school district. “I came up here to put my kids (ages 5 and 7) into the school district, partly because of the union. We are losing teachers, and my fear is that we will lose this district’s leadership,” Ek said. “If it was in her contract, and she did well, then she must have deserved it. A 4 percent raise, I’m not worried about it.” Local physician Ilya Mogadam said he does not think the increase is detrimental to the district. “I don’t have a problem with it. There are so many changes right now, but I don’t think 4 percent is a big problem.” he said. “If the person in charge is being appreciated for doing their job, then it’s OK.” Laura Newell can be reached at lauran@goldcountrymedia.com.