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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superintendent Receives 6.5 Percent Raise

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WestportNow.com Image
Elliott Landon: (shown addressing Staples grads last week) will earn $249,210. WN photo
The Westport Board of Education voted unanimously tonight to give Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon a 6.5 percent salary increase.

His salary for the 2006-07 fiscal year will increase to $249,210 from $234,000.

James Marpe, board secretary, said the board reviewed the superintendent salaries of other school districts in Westport’s Educational Reference Group.

Board Chairwoman Mary Parmelee said the board reviewed and discussed Landon’s performance in two executive session meetings before meeting with him.

The board discussed specifically Landon’s leadership, especially on three subjects, she said.

Landon has shown leadership on buildings, the budget and personnel, she said.

With buildings, she said, Landon helped guide the district through a major building program, which is near completion.

With the budget, she said, Landon said the reformatting would change the discussions from dollars to educational philosophy and priorities.

“The whole tenor of the budget discussions has changed,” she said. “It’s far more positive and productive.”

With personnel, Parmelee said, Landon is at his best because he hires, encourages and keeps the best people.

“He has an incredible skill to find the people that fit the job,” she said. “He recognizes people’s strengths and puts them in a job that maximizes their strengths.”

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Posted 06/29/06 at 02:48 AM  Permalink



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Congratulations Dr Landon!
I thought it was odd last night when giving insights to the teacher turnover rate of “13%” (>50), for the only year you have data compiled, that your only explaination was “pregnant teachers” leaving during the year. This cannot be true, and seemed a bit biased. Why is the turnover so high? Wouldn’t Westport be an ideal place for the best teachers to teach, and stay? $14,600.00 per student must rank our town amongst the most committed to achieving our educational goals. Thank you

Posted by Robert Rosenfield on June 30, 2006 at 12:59 AM | #
 

Praising Dr. Landon’s skill with personnel because he “hires, encourages and keeps the best people,” in the midst of the Ejay Clark controversy, is a slap in the face to the entire Westport community. Whatever skills Dr. Landon has as an administrator, it is clearly not in the field of staffing as evidenced by the facts.

If his hiring practices are so extraordinary, why do Westport Schools have such an embarrassing turnover of staff? If he is encouraging, how come he refused Ejay Clark’s written requests for help? And if he keeps the best people, why are extraordinary teachers like Mr. Clark forced to leave?

Even with the perceived legal limitations to comment on Ejay Clark’s reinstatement, the Board of Education could have signaled their concern to the public by waiving, or at least postponing, Dr. Landon’s raise. And there was certainly no need to specifically praise his personnel record except to send a message to the community that the Board does not care about public concerns and has no intent, either behind closed doors or in the public eye, to consider anything remotely controversial.

Until now, I have resisted believing an opinion I’ve heard expressed; that Dr. Landon has a blank check to run the Westport School District as he chooses, without objection by the Board of Education. After Wednesday evening’s unanimous vote, I am forced to conclude that it’s true and join the legions of walking wounded parents who have pleaded passionate concerns before the Board that Dr. Landon has no interest in exposing to public review.

I would welcome any examples that demonstrate the Board of Education’s independence from and critical oversight of the superintendent’s office, as I still cling to the hope that it is so.

Paul Einarsen

Posted by Paul Einarsen on June 30, 2006 at 03:14 PM | #
 

What did Dr Landon do to deserve a $15,000 raise?  The fact that similar “Educational Reference Group” salaries were reviewed is scrutinizing the wrong side of the equation. Are schools spending less per student getting more? Dr Landon also has at least two assistants for curriculum and personnel. Do these other schools have similar personnel? Evaluating salaries is not enough. I suppose Dr Landon is doing a good job, but no one was allowed to participate in the discussion, or comment. The real question might be, Do the legal fees generated by Dr Landon exceed the costs of a compassionate, nurturing, progressive, open minded educational initiative?

Posted by Robert Rosenfield on June 30, 2006 at 03:31 PM | #
 

Hopefully, we will remember these comments when the next election year comes around.  As I recall, none of the “independent” candidates were elected last time, despite the exact same complaints that the BOE was in Landon’s pocket.  This suggests that the majority of voters in town are happy with the performance of the BOE.  Remember that the majority of households do not have kids in our schools.
Historically, none of the standard indices apply here in Westport: dollars/student, cost/sq foot, administrators/student.  There are no standards by which to judge anyone or anything.

Posted by Dan Lasley on June 30, 2006 at 09:08 PM | #