Jack Baldermann will now be paid more than the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.
On June 13 the District 208 school board voted 6-1 to offer Baldermann a new five year contract as superintendent/principal of Riverside-Brookfield High School. His annual salary will be $225,000, according to District 208 school board president Larry Herbst. This base pay does not include a 9.45 percent-of-base salary contribution District 208 makes to the Teachers Retirement System for Baldermann. Including the District’s contribution to the Teacher Retirement system would bring Baldermann’s total compensation to $246,262.
The Chief Justice of the United State Supreme Court is paid $212,100.
Baldermann’s base salary last year was $188,600 according to District 208 business manager John Gibson. The new contract gives Baldermann a raise of 19.3 percent.
Laura Hruska cast the only vote against Baldermann’s contract.
Hruska said that while she thought Baldermann was doing an excellent job, she objected to what she called the “huge raise.” According to Hruska, the median income of Brookfield is around $52,000 and the median income of North Riverside $48,000.
“He is close to five times that,” said Hruska. “Is that justified?”
But Hruska said that she had no complaints on Baldermann’s performance.
“I think he is doing a fabulous job,” said Hruska.
School board President Larry Herbst said that Baldermann has been approached in recent years by some of the best and largest school districts in the Chicagoland area, including some of the most prestigious high school districts in the state.
“Jack is approached quite often by other schools,” said Herbst.
Baldermann acknowledged that search firms often contact him and ask him to apply for other superintendent jobs and that he has had opportunities to leave RB for higher-paying jobs.
But he said he likes his current job.
“I love RB and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said Baldermann, who said he looks forward to seeing his sixth grade daughter graduate from RB.
Since Baldermann serves as both the superintendent and principal of District 208/RB High School, it is difficult to compare Baldermann’s salary with other area superintendents. Sue Bridge, who serves as the superintendent/principal of Oak Park and River Forest High School, a one-school district with the same management structure as RB, will be paid $296,012 this year, the final year of her contract before her retirement.
However the OPRF Human Resources department said that figure is inflated by a retirement package. It is common for teachers and school administrators to have their salaries boosted by large amounts in their final years before retirement to boost their state pensions. Bridge’s salary in the 2003-04 school year, before her final contract kicked in, was $187,000 according to District 200 a Human Resources Department spokesperson. OPRF’s enrollment is more than 3,000 students, more than double the enrollment at RB.
Lyons Township High School District 204 Superintendent Dennis Kelly received a total compensation package of $249,366 in 2005, according to the www.champion.org, a Web site maintained by the Family Taxpayers Network listing the salaries of all public school employees in Illinois relying on data provided by the Illinois State Board of Education.
RB has been widely praised under Baldermann’s leadership. In May RB was rated by Newsweek magazine as one the top 100 high schools in the nation. District 208 was also designated as an outperforming district by Standard & Poor’s recently for its outstanding academic performance.
Baldermann came to RB in 2001 after serving as the principal of Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park.
At the June 13 meeting the school board also approved two-year contracts for other RB administrators, including Tim Scanlon, assistant principal of curriculum and instruction; Assistant Principal John Passarella and District 208 Business Manager John Gibson.
Scanlon will make $121,000, while both Passarella and Gibson will make $110,500 in 2006-07.