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School district administrator's pay raise tops 11 percent

School Board OKs retroactive bump for Wachholz

April 14, 2009

West Allis-West Milwaukee School Superintendent Kurt Wachholz's salary will rise a total of 11.7 percent under contracts recently approved by the School Board.

The School Board approved the contracts, which West Allis NOW later obtained on an open records request, by a 6-1 vote March 23.

Back pay

The board last month approved a retroactive contract - for a period spanning July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008 - that pays Wachholz a salary of $139,500.

Wachholz made $132,000 in the 2006-07 school year, according to district figures. The retroactive raise will be paid in a lump sum.

The School Board also approved a contract that spans July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2010 and pays Wachholz $147,500 in the first year of the contract. The board will determine a salary for subsequent years after conducting an evaluation, but the wages cannot be less than the previous school year.

The salary is the only change from the previous contract. He will receive the same fringe benefits as other WA-WM School District administrators, officials said.

Timing vs. merit

Board member Annette Frymark cast the lone dissenting vote and Darlene Ziemendorf and Sue Stalewski were absent.

Frymark said she supported Wachholz but thought the economic recession made it the wrong time to approve a raise.

"Our district is doing a good job, and he is providing good leadership," Frymark said. "I just had a concern over what we're facing in today's economy."

Board member Patricia Kerhin said district schools have received many honors under Wachholz's watch and praised him for his strong education advocacy to state and federal legislators.

"District success starts with the leadership from the superintendent," Kerhin said. "Kurt has not been given a raise in two years. During that time, almost half of our schools have been recognized by the (state Department of Public Instruction) as Schools of Promise."

Wachholz could not be reached for comment.

Mark Schaaf can be reached at (262) 446-6605.

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