Preston superintendent awarded extended contract, raise

Preston — The Board of Education Monday unanimously approved a two-year contract extension for Superintendent John Welch, awarding him a 2 percent raise for the current fiscal year, retroactive to July 1.

Welch's contract was set to expire at the end of June 2013, and was extended to June 30, 2015. The 2 percent raise awarded for this year brings his salary to $117,562. Future salary adjustments will be considered by the board. The contract extension to three years is the maximum allowed by state law for a school contract, Welch said Tuesday.

The board conducted a closed-door performance review Monday, with Welch attending part of the discussion session, and voted in open session on the extension and raise.

Board Chairman John Moulson could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

"I was very appreciative of the board's confidence in me, and I expressed that sentiment," Welch said Tuesday.

The board approved a set of goals for the superintendent in November and likely will add to the list based on a recent survey of Preston residents on numerous school issues.

The board also asked Welch, who works full-time in Preston, for a study of part-time superintendents in the region and their compensations. Welch said he would present that report by the end of the school year.

Also Monday, the board's Community Relations Subcommittee presented draft recommendations for the school district based on the findings of the recent survey. The list of eight goals in response to the survey includes consideration of expanding preschool slots, a possible school uniform policy, improving communications with parents and the general public, and possible reconsideration of an idea to consolidate the town's two schools.

The consolidation question received equal responses from those in favor and those against. The board had discussed the issue but shelved the discussion several months ago.

Residents overwhelmingly favored expanding the current preschool program and gave a favorable response to a question about school uniforms. The board had not discussed uniforms, and the committee included a copy of the Norwich school uniform policy with the draft recommendations.

The Community Relations Subcommittee will meet Jan. 10 to discuss the draft goals again before making final recommendations, Welch said.

Welch said one survey recommendation already is being done. Parents had asked for better email communication with the school system; Welch said he is gathering as many parental email addresses as possible for a database that could be tapped for universal messages when necessary.

Residents also asked for more information on financial and school budget issues, and Welch said school officials will work on a method for making financial information more visible on the school system's website or other location.


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