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Crystal Lake School District 155 superintendent awarded maximum bonus

Board votes to give Johnnie Thomas $14K – top amount allowed in contract

CRYSTAL LAKE – Community High School District 155’s superintendent will receive the maximum bonus allowed under his contract, the school board decided this week.

The bonus was approved in a 6-1 vote Tuesday evening after the board met in closed session to discuss Superintendent Johnnie Thomas’s performance over the past school year and whether he met his goals.

“He’s helped increase the rigor,” board President Ted Wagner said. “It’s something we’ve been working at. Our high schools are nationally recognized. We’ve gone from a thousand students in our [Advanced Placement] classes to 2,800.”

The goals laid out for Thomas as part of the contract focus on increasing participation in the district’s Advanced Placement program, investigating ways to improve academic performance on state tests and on internal grading measurements, developing programs to improve
the social and emotional well-being of students, creating plans that maintain balanced budgets and fiscal soundness and developing strategies to improve internal and external communication.

The district is in its first year of Thomas’s four-year contract, which lays out the maximum bonus he can receive each year.

This year the bonus was capped at $14,000, or about 7.6 percent of his $184,730 salary.

Thomas is also entitled to a 1.5 percent raise each year of the contract.

The sole no vote came from school board member Rosemary Kurtz, who said that she didn’t think it was appropriate to award the bonus when the district is facing a projected deficit of more than half a million dollars next year.

Kurtz also added that the vote was not a reflection on Thomas’ work as she thought she was not capable of making an evaluation on that front because she was only sworn in as a board member a month earlier.

The money for the bonus will come out of the ending 2014-15 budget, which is balanced, Wagner said, adding that Thomas and his staff have worked hard to cut the deficit in half from its starting point of about a million dollars a few months ago.

NOTE TO READERS: The projected deficit for Community High School District 155's coming fiscal year has been corrected in this story.

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