By Bob Skolnik
It looks as if Superintendent Kevin Skinkis is going to be at Riverside-Brookfield High School for quite a bit longer.
At its Sept. 12 meeting, the District 208 Board of Education voted 6 to 0 to give Skinkis a five-year contract extension when his current four-year deal expires next year.
By law, five-years is the longest contract that can be given to a school administrator in Illinois.
Final language and details are being prepared by lawyers for Skinkis and the district, but the essential terms of the contract have been agreed to.
"My intent is to sign it," Skinkis said.
Skinkis, who is currently earning $201,288 in base salary, will receive a 4-percent raise next July to bring his salary up to $209,300 for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
For the final four years of his contract, Skinkis' base salary will increase by 90 percent of the increase of the consumer price index.
Skinkis, like other administrators at RBHS, will also have the opportunity to earn bonuses if various goals are met.
The new contract is a measure of the high regard the school board has for Skinkis.
"The board feels he's doing a very good job and wanted to keep him," said Garry Gryczan, the president of the District 208 Board of Education. "He's done a great job from a standpoint of fiscal control, managing the construction projects, the life-safety projects, and also focusing the administration on trying to achieve growth in areas of graduation rates and improvements in test scores. We still have a ways to go."
Skinkis, who came to RBHS in 2011, said that he is looking forward to five more years at RBHS.
"I'm excited," Skinkis said. "I think the first seven years have been very interesting. … I look forward to working with the staff and the community."
When Skinkis first came to RBHS in 2011 he was given a three-year contract as a 34-year-old, first-time superintendent. This latest contract could keep him at RBHS until at least 2023, when it expires.
Skinkis has not always been popular with teachers and parents at RBHS. Some feel that his focus is on finances above education. Some teachers have spoken of a culture of retribution at the school, in which those who question the administration are punished or pushed aside.
In 2015 and 2016 Skinkis faced strong opposition from residents of the Hollywood section of Brookfield over a plan to build a new parking lot north of Hollywood School.
When the Brookfield Village Board voted against issuing variances needed to build the parking lot, District 208 sued the village. After nearly two years in the courts, the two sides ultimately settled on a smaller parking lot. Five new tennis courts were also built.
The lawsuit and the resulting negotiations cost District 208 nearly $137,800 in legal fees and the village of Brookfield paid about $93,215 to its law firm, according to records the Landmark obtained from both District 208 and the village.
Skinkis points to a provision in the lawsuit settlement requiring that village lease the Rockefeller Ave. parking lot to RBHS for just $1 a year for the next 20 years as saving the district more than $260,000 over the next 20 years as evidence that the lawsuit paid off for RBHS. The parking lot and new tennis courts were built this summer and are now being used.
Skinkis is a hard worker who has maintained good relationships with all board members who have served during his tenure as superintendent. He is detail-oriented and is very responsive to board concerns. He is generally regarded as straight-shooter.