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Top aides get pay hikes but face limits on health plans

The Lockport School Board has extended the contracts of its three assistant superintendents, giving each an annual 3 percent raise but requiring changes in their health care coverage.

Gerald J. Stuitje, assistant superintendent for finance whose current contract was to expire Dec. 18, was given a 3 1/2 -year extension through June 30, 2010.

Under his current contract, Stuitje earns $111,140 through June 30. As part of the extension, he will make $115,585 in 2006-07; $119,053 in 2007-08; $122,626 in 2008-09; and $126,304 in 2009-10.

Susan C. Nablo, assistant superintendent for learning and assessment, whose contract was to expire June 30, was given a three-year extension through June 30, 2009. Her salary will climb from $111,140 to $114,474 next year, $117,908 in 2007-08 and $121,445 in 2008-09.

The contract for Susan M. Grigg, assistant superintendent for personnel, was to expire June 30, 2007. Her three-year extension will keep her on board through June 30, 2010. She currently makes $106,746, and her salary will rise to $113,055 in 2007-08, $116,447 in 2008-09 and $119,940 in 2009-10.

School Superintendent Bruce T. Fraser said the raises will be partially offset by a requirement that the assistant superintendents "either move to a less expensive health care plan or, if they remain in their traditional plans, contribute 10 percent toward the cost of those plans."

Board President W. Keith McNall estimated the health insurance changes could save an estimated $1,200 per year per person for a family health insurance plan.

Fraser said he wanted to complete contracts with each assistant superintendent before the arrival of a new superintendent whom the board intends to hire sometime this year. Fraser is retiring in September.

He said board members approved the extensions because "they are very pleased with the job [the assistant superintendents] have done and feel it is critical to offer the district stability and have these contracts settled as they proceed with the superintendent's search."

Fraser, who had planned to retire in January, decided to stay until September to give the board more time to hire a replacement. He also wanted to address several issues he believes would be unfair to leave for his successor.

One was to complete contract talks with the assistant superintendents. He also hopes to settle a contract with the 20-member Lockport Administrators and Supervisors Association, which comprises principals, vice principals and other supervisory staff. He also wants to prepare a 2006-07 district budget.

Fraser has been working with the board on budget deliberations and with the union. He said he hopes a new contract will be negotiated with the administrators' union by July 1. The 2006-07 budget must be adopted by April 21.

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com

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