Starpoint School Superintendent Robert D. Olczak has been given a one-year extension of his contract, extending it until the year 2000, but the School Board has until June 30 to negotiate whether he will receive a pay raise.
Olczak has not had a raise in three years and his $85,000-a-year salary is less than the pay of superintendents at other schools such as Lewiston-Porter, Wilson and Barker which are in the $90,000 to $95,000 range.
Olczak was hired with a three-year contract in 1995, replacing longtime Superintendent Lowell W. Brinnen, who was at a salary of more than $97,000. In 1996, Olczak received a one year extension, but no salary increase and last year Olczak was given no extension and no salary increase.
Trustees Kathleen A. Anthony and Brenda Sikinoff walked out of an executive session on the matter last week, saying they were not ready to vote in support of Olczak. His contract was approved in a 6-0 vote after they left the meeting. Trustee Philip O. Bamford was absent.
Trustee William Patterson said the vote wasn't a surprise to him.
"We evaluate his performance every year and told him we would let him know by the end of this month. A majority of the board were ready to make a decision. A minority were not," said Patterson.
Most board members, even those who said they gave him poor evaluations, agreed Olczak was a "nice man and a good communicator."
Patterson said Olczak was pulling together a divided board. "If anyone can help us do that. He's the one," said Patterson.
"Some people expect a superintendent to be confrontational. Lowell Brinnen was like that. He told people to take or leave it. Olczak is not like Brinnen, but I think being very strong is not the right approach," said Board President Robert W. Jasinski.
Olczak said the last two budgets have passed in the community after years of budget defeats. He noted that he had been the superintendent for only two months when voters rejected the school budget, but he later won passage.
"I'm proud of the accomplishments in the technology area. We have computers in every classroom. There are computer labs in both elementary schools and three in the high school with computer assisted drawing technology. We have done this through prudent financing at minimal costs. Through staff development we are training our teachers to use this technology," said Olczak.
He also highlighted the move to an all-Regents high school with programs like the new high school learning center and a cooperative summer school program to help students meet higher standards.
Jasinski said the issue of salary is still negotiable, but at this point the board has only extended his contract. The board has until June 30 in each year of Olczak's contract to renegotiate his salary.