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FWCS superintendent evaluation mires board

– As board members dig deeper into the process to evaluate Fort Wayne Community Schools’ superintendent, there are still some unanswered questions.

Most board members aren’t sure they want to reinvent the wheel with a new evaluation process.

Some think consulting a similar plan from another state might be the route to take.

But all agree changes are ahead as they connect the dots on the process that determines Superintendent Wendy Robinson’s performance-based pay.

“We are stuck on how much I get paid when the real issue is how are you going to evaluate me,” Robinson told board members Thursday.

“If we could get comfortable with how you’re going to evaluate first, then get to how you’re going to compensate. …

“We never get to a resolution because we keep mixing the two,” she said.

On Thursday, the board discussed evaluation plans used by school districts in Virginia and Texas, as suggested by board attorney Tim McCaulay.

The process FWCS uses to evaluate Robinson’s performance was drawn heavily from an evaluation used by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The school board began using the evaluation in September 2011, but it has struggled in recent years to gather the data it needs from state Department of Education in order to determine her performance-based pay.

Robinson’s ability to meet the goals set by the board will play an important role in her evaluation – and corresponding raises – in the coming years.

Board members discussed details they would like to see included in the evaluation, such as Advanced Placement test scores in place of, or in addition to, data that have been frequently delayed.

Board member Steve Corona said he would rather take student achievement data – such as ISTEP+ scores – from a year prior than base the superintendent’s evaluation off data that might not be available when it is needed.

Board member Lisa Olinger also cautioned the board to make sure Robinson’s ability to check goals off her to-do list wouldn’t lead to a salary expense that the district couldn’t afford.

Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend said finding the money in the budget for Robinson’s salary would not be a problem.

Robinson will receive $201,150 for this school year.

McCaulay told board members to read through the evaluations of other states and email him with individual questions and suggestions for the evaluation process before the next work session, scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday.