By Dustin Luca
The School Committee voted Friday to give Superintendent Marinel McGrath a 1 percent raise after applauding her ability to stay focused on the school system during a turbulent year.
While saying the past school year was "a year of great turmoil and challenge for us," School Committee Chairwoman Paula Colby-Clements said McGrath was "exceptional at continuing to move our district forward."
"While I recognize an evaluation is typically supposed to be balanced between positive and constructive criticism, as I review the past year, I have no criticism to give," said Colby-Clements. "I can not imagine any leader having done a better job holding us together while moving us forward."
"It's really not a secret what a difficult year this has been, between contract negotiations, Work to Rule, hazing, Bancroft litigation, high school principal search during a challenging time," said member Annie Gilbert. "In a difficult time, I don't believe, I know that we didn't accomplish as much as Dr. McGrath would want, but we certainly weren't in a holding pattern either."
The committee gave McGrath a 1 percent raise retroactive for the previous year, having built enough money to offer a 1 percent raise into the budget. Her salary the previous year was $195,000.
During the motion, member Dennis Forgue also wanted to give McGrath a 2 percent raise for fiscal year 2012-2013, something that member David Birnbach disagreed with.
"We should be doing the assessment at the end of the cycle and giving the raise based on that current year," said Birnbach. "Giving raises for future years that haven't unfolded yet, I philosophically just don't think that's the process."
Last June, while McGrath received a rave review from the School Committee, no raise was offered because money wasn't placed in the budget to increase the salaries of school leaders, including McGrath and the school district's team of principals.
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