A 5 percent increase in Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Phyllis Chase’s salary won the approval of the Columbia Board of Education on Monday after the board discussed the superintendent’s pay in a public meeting for the first time.
The raise pushes Chase’s salary for 2007-08 to $200,340. That represents an increase of $57,340 over her first-year salary of $143,000 in 2003-04.
Chase was confident that the outcome of the public hearing would satisfy everyone. She said she had no problem with part of the negotiations being held as an open hearing to let residents comment.
“It was the board’s idea,” Chase said. “The decision reflects the board’s desire to be as open as possible about things.”
School board President Karla DeSpain said the decision to discuss Chase’s salary in public came after a suggestion by board member Michelle Gadbois.
“We determined that we could do it without it being damaging to her integrity,” DeSpain said.
The Missouri Sunshine Law allows public governmental bodies to discuss personnel issues related to hiring, firing, discipline or promotion in closed session. The board met in a closed session earlier Monday to discuss Chase’s performance. It waited, though, until its regular public meeting to debate whether she should get a raise and how much it should be.
At the beginning of the meeting the room was filled with people, some there to reward Columbia students’ achievements. Among students were Craig Chval and Alan Ni, who were recognized for their perfect scores on the American Mathematics Contest exam. The eighth-graders from West Junior High School were two out of only four students with perfect scores in Missouri. Taylor Arnold and Dylan Conn were also recognized for their first-place finishes in the State Stockmarket Competition.
After a presentation about the Great Expectations program, which assesses students’ learning growth, the number of people in the room gradually decreased.
About 20 people stayed to witness the public hearing discussing Chase’s salary.
The public discussion focused primarily on how Chase’s salary stacks up against that of superintendents in comparable school districts around the state.