While the Timberlane/Hampstead superintendent’s salary is not by itself the highest in the state, when you add in the bonuses and extras, it hovers right up there. And each year, it gets higher and higher.
The district is not something to be ashamed of, but it’s hard to argue that it is the best in the state. Or the biggest. Or the most difficult to manage.
So why the continually extended contract and the higher pay?
We’ll never know, because school board members are rigorously reminded to keep their mouths shut when asked by the press to comment on their superintendent’s evaluation. Only the superintendent can release what was discussed in the closed session where the evaluation took place.
If the superintendent of a relatively small district is paid such a high salary, he must have done something the district can be proud of to justify taxpayer money going into his pocket in such large amounts. That’s certainly not shameful, not damaging to his reputation, and not something to keep under wraps.
But insisting that no board member address the matter in public, and citing state law and keeping all discussion in non-public session – closed to both the public and the press – make the repeated raises, and last year’s contract extension to an unusual five additional years, hard to understand. If everything is so positive, those positives should be broadcast to all.
In May of 2014 the School Administrative Unit (SAU) Board increased Metzler’s salary from $134,225 to $140,000 and voted to award him a 4 percent performance bonus.
In June 2015, Metzler was granted a 3.75 percent increase to his base salary effective July 1, along with a 4 percent performance bonus based on his 2015-2016 school year evaluation. This brought his base annual salary to $155,055, not counting the 4 percent performance bonus.
Then, in October 2015, Metzler received a five-year contract extension tacked on to his contract agreement, which had been slated to end in 2017, giving him job security through 2022.
We agree with the board members who said the state’s listing of superintendent salaries does not clarify whether they include bonuses or other extras. That should be a no-brainer for the Department of Education to fix. Comparing apples to apples should always be the goal.
But regardless, a strikingly high salary for a relatively small district raises questions, just as the lack of detail does. In the long run, being open about the good, the bad and the indifferent is the best path to follow.