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Article posted: 2/26/2013 4:01 PM

Schuler gets raise in 6-1 vote

By Susan Sarkauskas

The Kaneland school board gave a 10.7 percent raise to Superintendent Jeff Schuler Monday night, over the objection of board member Tony Valente.

"Eleven percent was an astronomical raise, for me," Valente said Tuesday.

In July, Schuler's pay will go from $158,000 to $175,000, under the agreement approved Monday. In July 2014, his pay will be increased by the rate of inflation or 3 percent, whichever is lesser, and the same will happen in July 2015.

Valente was the only "no" vote. He said he voted against it for several reasons, including that the district has asked teachers in their most recent contract "to take very little raise," and because he is not pleased with the district's progress on improving standardized test scores. But mainly it's the money, he said.

"I thought that it was hard to ask the community to pay more," he said, when the district has cut programs and services, such as activity buses and staffing for school libraries.

Valente acknowledged that Schuler, who became a superintendent in 2010, is probably on the lower end of pay for superintendents. But Schuler, 40, became a superintendent at a young age, Valente said, and will likely receive salary increases for more years than other superintendents. And $175,000 isn't enough to keep Schuler from taking a job in a district that pays more, such as those in Naperville, Valente said.

"We cannot raise it to the point where he'll never leave," Valente said.

Valente was an assistant principal, then principal, at Kaneland High School when Schuler was assistant superintendent for human resources. Valente is now principal of Proviso East High School in Maywood.

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