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Norwich school board OKs increase of superintendent's salary to $160,000

By Claire Bessette

Publication: The Day

Published June 14. 2012 4:00AM

Norwich - The Norwich public school superintendent will receive a raise for the first time in five years starting July 1, bringing the position to $160,000 a year, in line with others in the region, including smaller school districts, Board of Education Chairwoman Yvette Jacaruso said.

The school board late Tuesday approved a performance evaluation and a 17 percent raise for Superintendent Abby Dolliver.

Dolliver became superintendent in 2010 after former Norwich Superintendent Pamela Aubin accepted the position in Montville. Aubin's salary of $136,409 was frozen for three years. Dolliver did not receive a raise during her first two years, and Jacaruso said the city's school principal salaries were approaching those of the district's top administrator. Principal salaries in Norwich this year ranged from $119,000 to $129,500.

"It was a unanimous vote," Jacaruso said Wednesday. "They just wanted to show that the position is worth it. We felt that after five years of no salary increase, this was the time."

Jacaruso said she gathered information on salaries of several surrounding towns along with their school enrollment before conducting Dolliver's evaluation. Norwich has a school population of 5,397 students. In Montville, Aubin earned $158,000 last year with 2,756 students. The Colchester superintendent earned $148,000 with 3,135 students, and the Griswold superintendent earned $151,000 in a district with 1,859 students.

New London Superintendent Nicholas Fischer earns $151,470 in a district with about 3,000 students, and Ledyard Superintendent Michael Graner, $155,522 with nearly 1,000 students.

Dolliver on Wednesday thanked the board for its support and said the district's communication with city officials and with Norwich Free Academy has been very strong, a plus for the district.

Dolliver's raise was accompanied by a highly favorable written evaluation unanimously approved by the board Tuesday following an executive session to review Dolliver's performance. The written report by Jacaruso praised Dolliver for her communication skills, organization and for keeping the board informed of all issues, good and bad.

"During a recent difficult personnel issue, she kept the board members informed throughout the process," Jacaruso wrote, referring to the February decision to place former Thames River Academy Principal Edward Derr on paid administrative leave. Derr later resigned after a state-funded program audit of TRA was highly critical of all levels of school operations.

The board asked Dolliver to continue to work to improve student achievement, to develop a plan to hire minorities in the school system and to continue to focus on early childhood programs.

Jacaruso said Wednesday that this has been a difficult school year, with six union contracts to negotiate, the troubles at Thames River Academy and major school reforms enacted by the state.

c.bessette@theday.com

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