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D-155 outlines goals for new superintendent

CRYSTAL LAKE – Community High School District 155 Superintendent Johnnie Thomas has been challenged to boost student test scores, keep a balanced budget and negotiate an affordable contract with the district’s more than 400 teachers.

Thomas, who comes from Township High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, took over as the district’s top administrator this week. As such, he’s responsible for overseeing the district’s four high schools in Crystal Lake and Cary, a $90 million budget, more than 700 employees and about 7,000 students.

Thomas replaces Jill Hawk, who retired at the end of June.

The District 155 school board set seven performance goals for Thomas in his three-year contract.

“We want to see academic growth, fiscal responsibility and top-quality educational programs,” school board President Ted Wagner said.

Thomas’ goals are to improve ACT scores at each high school, balance the budget and prepare financial forecasts for the board, implement a new evaluation system for employees, revise curriculum to match new state standards, and create a facilities master plan for the district.

Another goal is to “negotiate an affordable” contract with teachers “that does not diminish the board’s ability to achieve the school district’s academic and other goals,” according to a copy of the contract.

Last June, the board and teachers union agreed to a two-year contract that provides teachers with $3.7 million in salary increases over the life of the deal. The salary increases will be partly offset by about $2.25 million in insurance benefits and other concessions from teachers.

Under the terms of Thomas’ contract, which was approved by the school board earlier this year, he will be paid $182,000 a year.

Besides salary, the board will pay his required pension and health system contributions. It also will pick up the tab for his cellphone or other device, reimburse him for job-related travel, and pay for membership in two professional or civic organizations.

The board will pay 90 percent of the premium for Thomas’ health insurance and provide him with term life insurance equal to twice his total compensation.

Thomas will get 25 paid vacation days a year. Unused vacation days can be rolled over into subsequent years with approval from the board. He also will get 12 sick days per year and will be able to accumulate up to 270 days.

If Thomas meets his goals, he also will be eligible for a bonus of up to $10,000.

In May, the board approved a $28,944 bonus for Hawk. Her base salary in 2011 was $214,305.

Thomas couldn’t be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

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