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District 303’s Schlomann to Retire in 2017

Board of Education approves amendments to superintendent’s contract, including an annual 6 percent retirement incentive annuity.

Dr. Donald Schlomann will retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year, according to an amended contract for the superintendent of St. Charles Community Unit School District 303.

The Board of Education approved the contract changes during a special meeting Monday night, and Dr. Schlomann signed it Tuesday morning, school officials said.

Board of Education President Steven Spurling said Tuesday evening the board’s approval of the contract amendments reflect its satisfaction with Schlomann’s performance as superintendent. “We’re very happy with Dr. Schlomann’s leadership,” he said.

Under the terms of the contract, Schlomann's base pay remains where it was when the district hired him as superintendent in 2009 — at $225,000. As part of the changes, beginning in 2013-14, the district will pay a 6 percent retirement incentive annuity for each of his final four years with the district. The retirement annuity is separate from the Illinois Teacher Retirement System.

The 6 percent retirement incentive annuity is a change in the pattern Schlomann set beginning in 2009, when he began to decline annual pay raises due him under his contract, a move he said reflected his respect for the sacrifices the community and the school district and its employees were making during belt-tightening years as revenues dropped.

His refusal to accept the contractual pay increases was respected by many in the district.

He called the retirement incentive annuity payments as very generous.

Spurling said the 6 percent retirement incentive annuity is the district’s “law of the land” in terms of retirement announcements. By contract, he said, all teachers and administrators receive the same treatment in the four years leading up to their retirement.

Also under the amended, beginning in July 2014, the district will give Schlomann one additional vacation day each year through 2016. He has 22 vacation days per year now.

Schlomann’s other contract terms — including health care coverage, a $7,200 annual car allowance, travel expenses, professional/civic organization fees and professional development, and cellphone — remain unchanged.

“It feels odd to be talking about retiring,” Schlomann said Monday afternoon. By 2017, he will have been with the district for 10 years. Still, 2017 is a long way off yet.

“This gives the district a good planning horizon to begin the searching to find my successor,” he said.

You can download a pdf of the superintendent’s new contract at
http://www1.d303.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=wZtfkSdcWaw%3d&tabid=2854.

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Michael Mak November 27, 2012 at 11:15 PM
He can't pay his own Cell phone bill ? What is this 1988 ?
Dan November 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM
5 years too late if you ask me. Superintendent makes just shy of a quarter million per year, yet the community still provides a $600 per month car and a cell phone. No wonder our communities are broke. If this district was a real business, the doors would have been closed years ago.
Michael Mak November 27, 2012 at 11:57 PM
I wish I could retire in 5 years. But I have to work to pay his Pension, annuity payments, and all the other Concessions that have been handed out to the Schools and State workers. Thanks !
AnnB November 28, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Touche Dan. He also lives in an apartment at Amli in STC during the week and the district pays the rent. His home is in Rockford.
Melother November 28, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Oh no Dan, IT GETS BETTER!! The bus mechanics are made to maintain his car AND he gets the $600 a month. He claims to live in town but in truth his home is on the far north side of BELVIDERE. He does maintain a 'residence' (apartment) in town where he stays when the weather is bad or is to lazy to commute like the rest of the world. Of course the district pays for THAT too. Every spring our tax dollars go pay for him to hold a "retreat" at his house in Belvidere for all of the district principals. District employees also get paid OVERTIME to drive the necessary equipment up to his house, sit there and wait, and then drive it all back. I'm sorry but how DARE you take money out of OUR TOWN and OUR DISTRICT. You want to host a retreat...DO IT HERE! The perks associated with this job are beyond comprehension and are down right embarrassing. Why this town is not up in arms just boggles the mind.
Melother November 28, 2012 at 12:32 AM
At $225k per year are we supposed to feel GOOD that he has "respect for the sacrifices the community and the school district and its employees were making during belt-tightening years as revenues dropped" -- How about you SUFFER on $175k per year and hire another teacher...just a thought
Ted Schnell (Editor) November 28, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I am going to step in here to make a couple of points. First, the personal attacks must stop. If you want to criticize the contract, the board's decision, etc., that's OK. But Patch's terms of service bar personal attacks. Second, in terms of the retirement annuity, I learned this evening this is the standard for all teachers and administrators in the district who announce their retirement -- 6 percent for four years. Schlomann's annuity is not tied to the Illinois Teacher Retirement System, however.
Melother November 28, 2012 at 04:13 AM
I don't see any personal attacks listed here? I don't know the man personally therefore I have no basis to make any kind of personal attack (lest we not forget the uber personal attacks during the Richmond-Davis debacle.) I can however dispute the decisions made by the district I pay taxes too. I may also express dissatisfaction and criticism of the decisions and courses of action taken by the individual whose salary is also paid for by my tax dollars. We have every right to question, challenge, and hold accountable our district and/or superintendent in the same manner we would a politician. Yes, I take enormous issue with a man who will openly say he is a St. Charles resident but then holds an annual retreat at his actual home in Belvidere, staffed by district employees who are on the clock. Oh wait! The personal attack was calling him lazy. Okay, I’ll give you that one. However, receiving a $600/mo car allowance is clearly largess for a man who claims to “live in town”.
Melother November 28, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Additionally, my point about the annuity is that it should NOT be standard. Be aware, Mr. Schlomann is retiring specifically from St. Charles and not necessarily from employment in general. In retirement Mr. Schlomann will receive an approximate income of $150-180k per year from the TRS. While receiving this payment he can still go to work for another district (or college), drawing another salary, and contributing to another retirement fund like IMRF (depending on the district). These retirement plans are NEGOTIATED so although there may be a “standard”, it is just as easily a rule of measure. In the not so distant past, a nearby Superintendent turned down a rather sizable retirement package telling the board that he disagreed with such exorbitant packages and only asked for continued health insurance coverage as we was truly retiring from employment. Now that would be a “standard” I could get behind. I would be less inclined to disagree with such large endowments if it was reflected in the term of service, required hours/days of work, or degree of difficulty in job performance and I find that very few Superintendent positions meet any of those criteria.
Ted Schnell (Editor) November 28, 2012 at 04:24 AM
I would like the conversation to stick with issues, such as some of those you raised. In terms of residency, I cannot speak to that as I am not personally aware of the information you are putting out there. But I do think it is relevant that if this is true, the Board of Education, whom the residents of the community elected, does not seem to mind, nor apparently has it imposed a residency requirement in the contract.
Michael Mak November 28, 2012 at 04:49 AM
I have no problem, with someone who works hard and goes to school most of their life to get many degrees to better themselves and rise to the top. And I'm okay with them making a substantial more amounts of money. That's what they work hard and go to school for. But for that same person to burden the taxpayers with this salary is beyond ridiculous. Ironically, this same highly educated person would think that a plan like this at the cost of the taxpayers is probably the worst Way to run a business into the ground and piss a lot of people off.
Ted Schnell (Editor) November 28, 2012 at 05:25 AM
I'm not so certain your logic flows well — if a person has worked hard for the degrees and the extra pay, it should not matter whether he or she is in the private sector of the public. Just because taxpayers are footing the bill doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be paying a fair wage. In a sense, the taxpayers should get what they pay for, the same as business. (Of course business has gained a reputation in the past couple of decades of overpaying the top dogs at levels that are ridiculous and border on the criminal.) By comparison, Dr. Schlomann’s pay likely is not as much as he would be making in the private sector working as the CEO of a corporation that is similar in size and revenue to District 303. Also, if he were in the private sector, he might even expect to have a “golden umbrella” as part of a severance plan or stock options for retirement. Perhaps the sticking point here is not so much what Dr. Schlomann’s compensation and benefits are as it is the perception that government employees are better taken care of by their employers than the everyman/woman working regular jobs in the private sector. I know that does not set well with a lot of people.
Dan November 28, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Ted, my comments were not directed to Dr. S. my comments are directed at a board that is continuing old practices and relying on taxpayer dollars to fund their mistakes (my "car allowance" was converted to salary back in the 90's on direction from auditors). I do not agree with many of the things Dr. S has pushed for during his tenure, and am therefore happy my kids are almost out. I do agree that in these economic times, a lower salary for the Supt and more for the teachers/more teachers makes better sense to me. Also, considering the size of our district (small in my opinion) the salary given by the board seems excessive. All in all, the sad thing is that the Board will most likely repeat these actions in 2017. Why? Because that's the way we've always done it.
Elizabeth R November 28, 2012 at 01:16 PM
I agree with the points made here, but blame your school board folks! Be outraged with them for providing the perks and not even questioning them. This is why nobody wants to run for the seats in next years elections. None of us would turn down the deal everyone of the past Supers has been given and of the last 3 we have had, Schlomann in my view has done the best job, he has rid our schools of many poor teachers, implemented a "suicide awarness program" after 6-7 kids committed suicide at East and everyone was sweeping it under the rug.. Remember the "Mold" cover up with Kostel at East? He called students and parents liars that were issues which the Norris Center stills has today.
Elizabeth R November 28, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Hey folks if this makes you mad, go to the City's website (fianace's page) and download the report showing what everyone employed with the City is making. About 1 out of every 6 is making salaries over 100K. There are street cops making over $100K, every Dept Head makes well over $100K and many over $150k. Most of these people could never get these salaries in the current private sector.
Momof3 November 28, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Actually, he owns a condo/townhouse here in St. Charles and has since 2010. Maybe people should check their facts before claiming to know things. It is a matter of public real estate/tax record that can easily be researched. He may still own another home in the Rockford area but I think that is his right to own 2 houses. He pays taxes here in St. Charles also.
Momof3 November 28, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Actually, if you search the public real estate records. it shows he owns a condo/townhouse in St. Charles and has since 2010. He has a mortgage so I don't see how the district pays his rent. Please check the facts before posting things that are not factual.
Melother November 28, 2012 at 03:57 PM
No, what is factual is that Mr. Schlomann has been the Superintendent of District 303 since 2007 and DID live in an apartment in Amli. When he was asked point blank, more than once, in School Board Meetings about the status of his residency he would simply state that he lived in St. Charles and then move on to the next question. He can own five homes in St. Charles but, the point is that he does not maintain residency here so to say otherwise is nothing short of a lie. His HOME and his wife are in Belvidere, always have been...so why draw your character and trustworthiness into question by lying about it?
Melother November 28, 2012 at 04:36 PM
To Louis B - you can search school district salaries as well - http://www.familytaxpayers.org - Upon exit from Belvidere School District Mr. Schlomann was making $217k in total compensation (see below) and is now listed as making $245k here in StC. I am not sure how accurate the information is as I could find our teachers listed, but not our principal. In a separate article I also found Mr. Schlomann listed as #28 highest paid administrator in the state with a total compensation package of $261k. "According to the ISBE, the annual salary data reported to them is the same as the "total creditable earnings" reported to the Teachers Retirement System. It includes, among other things, extra-duty pay (coaching, clubs, etc.), board-paid retirement contributions, vacation and sick day buyouts, bonuses, and other compensation that the Teachers Retirement System includes in total creditable earnings. This salary data does not include the cost of employer-paid health insurance. Individual school district contracts should be consulted for details."
Ted Schnell (Editor) November 28, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Thanks Momof3. Also, for you salary checkers, here's some food for thought, because people (including journalists like myself) love to find out this information all the time: How do you compare it/judge it? Can we do that without actually comparing it to pay for comparable positions in comparable markets? I ask because it seems to me (and I used to do the same thing when I was younger) that finding out the pay often incensed me BEFORE I had a basis for comparison. In other words, I was getting ticked off because in my opinion, so-and-so's pay was too high. Opinions are a dime a dozen, in that regard -- when you have an informed basis for that opinion, its value starts to rise, I think ..,
Ted Schnell (Editor) November 28, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Question, Melother: How the heck do you know he is lying about residency? Seriously. Do you live inside his head or his home for that matter? I have known couples who maintain dual homes like this before who do so by choice -- whether it is related to dual career needs, family considerations, extended family concerns. This is what I get concerned about in conversations like this. You have called the man a liar based on some level of supposed omniscience on your part. Is that really legitimately fair to judge someone else when you don't -- and can't -- know ever detail that comes into play? Let's stick to the issues and not focus on disparaging people please.
Melother November 28, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I do agree with you that opinions are, more often than not, formed in conjunction with the initial knee-jerk reaction to hearing information, such as a persons pay. Very often it is an operating policy that a positions base/starting pay is determined based on information obtained from "comparable positions in comparable markets." Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Municipalities & school districts regularly send out requests for compensation information to ensure that the salaries they offer are in line and competitive with the surrounding markets. To be competitive and recruit qualified talent this certainly makes sense. This practice however, does not take into account the full scope of each job. St. Charles and Geneva are used as "comparable markets" and the Superintendents make very close to the same in compensation while Geneva has 9 schools and St. Charles has 17. Does that mean one job is harder than the other? Does it mean these positions should have equal pay? The going rate for a Superintendent seems to be fairly uniform regardless of district though. The Superintendent in Dectaur makes MORE than our Superintendent despite the fact that the median income is less than HALF of ours & the median home price is less than a THIRD of ours. Decatur has 20 schools but we have double the student population. From a performance standpoint, Decatur schools/students rank in the bottom 2% for the state. So, no, we can’t compare/judge because it really seems to not matter
Ted Schnell (Editor) November 28, 2012 at 11:34 PM
That latter comparison fails to consider the market; I would agree, as you stated, that the cost of living is considerably lower in Decatur than it is in a suburban area like St. Charles. In terms of job comparability, I would think the things to compare would be number of students and number of schools -- as well as the size of the budget the superintendent and his administration is managing. I am not certain how much weight should be given to median income or median home prices, since my concern would be that the chief executive be paid well contingent upon the level of responsibility. For example, if the Decatur district were significantly larger in terms of square miles, then managing student transportation becomes a much larger area of responsibility that might more than make up for a difference in the number of schools, for example.
Melother November 29, 2012 at 12:38 AM
If you are asked point blank in a public meeting about a residency situation that is pertinent to your job and you either refuse to answer or give a one word answer than it certainly does not take a rocket scientist to deduce the quality of that answer. More importantly, if there truly was a situation in which dual residency's were being maintained then why in the world would he ask all of the district principal's to drive an hour to a "get together" (at his home) in Belvidere when he could simply hold it here in town at his residence? And why would you cost the district money in overtime costs by having district employees drive the necessary party supplies to Belvidere, sit there and wait, and then drive it all back? If "lie" is too disparaging then we can call it creative deception but at the end of the day...it's still the opposite of the truth.
Ted Schnell (Editor) November 29, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Again, I will make the point that if residency were a concern, the board would have included it as a condition of his contract. Obviously, however, he does maintain a residence in St. Charles. Regardless, residency seems to me irrelevant unless the board made it a condition of employment; further, there are no laws that I am aware of that bar someone from owning two homes -- or more -- if they can afford them. Residency is more an issue for elected officials, and we know that in Washington, we have hundreds of representatives and senators who maintain dual residences -- one in D.C. where they live while Congress is in session, and the one they are required to maintain as their primary residence in their home states/districts.
Ann December 03, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I think he's done a great job. I'm not crazy about the "padding the ensign" with 6% annual raises but I don't blame him for that. In fact, I applaud him for turning down the raises the past few years. But someone implied our district was small - it is not. It is HUGE. Patch did a quite interesting comparison not long ag
Ann December 03, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Great article from this Patch a year or so ago that compares District Superintendent salaries. Very enlightening information regarding just how huge d303 is. http://stcharles-il.patch.com/articles/the-new-math-adding-up-a-superintendents-salary-11
Ted Schnell (Editor) December 03, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Thank you Ann -- that is very informative. I was unaware of it -- I started in mid-July this year.

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