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LCUSD Superintendent Salary Approved, Contract Extended

Wendy Sinnette’s total annual compensation of $190,000 was approved along with a three-year employment extension.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the La Cañada Unified School District (LCUSD) Governing Board approved Superintendent Wendy Sinnette’s total annual compensation for 2011-2012, a total of $190,000 with a base salary of $160,000 and a bonus performance of $30,000.

The salary was unanimously passed by Susan Boyd, Andrew Blumenfeld, Ellen Multari, and Scott Tracy; Joel Peterson was not present at the meeting. Based on the current contract, the total annual salary of the preceding school year would be based off Sinnette’s performance from the previous school year. The contract also stipulated that the total annual salary of 2011-2012 could not be more than $195,000.

In a closed session, Sinnette presented the progress of 15 goals that had been set out at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. Each of the board members then rated the achievement of each of the goals and wrote extensive comments on the progress of the goals. The scores were then compiled on a matrix and board members met to discuss the various rankings. At the end of the process, the Governing Board rated Sinnette’s performance at 86 percent.

“That score reflects a strong support of the Superintendent by the board, a validation of her performance,” said Tracy, who serves as president of the Governing Board. “I think there was a clear sign of measurable progress.”

The Governing Board also approved an amendment that would extend the Sinnette’s term to July 31, 2016. The amendment is effective November 1 and states that, while the base salary for 2012-2013 is $160,000, the base salary of the following years will be $175,000. If Sinnette proves to have a satisfactory or better performance evaluation during the 2013-2014 or 2014-2015 school year, she will receive an increase in minimum base salary equal to “the greater of $5,000 or a percentage equal to that received in the then‐current school year by other certificated management personnel.”

“I extend my extreme gratitude for the complete vote of confidence and support. No effort in our district is the effort of a single person–it’s everyone coming together. I feel that the success of the goals were directly attributed to the leadership team I worked with, the certificated staff I worked with, the classified staff I worked with,” Sinnette said. “Nothing would be done without the parents who give their time and effort and are always there to support the success of the students.”

Prior to having her 2011-2012 contract approved and receiving a three-year extension for employment at the Governing Board meeting, Sinnette presented her goals for the upcoming school year. A number of goals Sinnette included teacher development, public communications, and student support. With 25 years of experience in education, Sinnette was first selected to Superintendent of LCUSD last June.

“I see how we set priorities, how they are to be implemented by staff. I think we’re in a really good place. I’m really proud to be part of this,” Tracy said.

The Governing Board stated that Sinnette’s salary was comparable to other first-time Superintendents in close by districts whose achievement and enrollment makeup mirror that of LCUSD. For the 2011-2012 school year, South Pasadena Superintendent Joel Shapiro received a $205,000 in base salary ($45,000 more than Sinnette's base salary), while San Marino Superintendent Loren Kleinrock received $192,000 in base salary ($32,000 more than Sinnette's base salary) and a car.

When comparing the average base salary of the two most comparable districts (South Pasadena and San Marino at an average base salary of $198,500), Sinnette’s base salary of $160,000 is 24 percent below the average of the two districts.

Editor's note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that the South Pasadena and San Marino superintendents have performance bonuses.  The story has been corrected.

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