Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 Superintendent Art Fessler has received a two-year contract extension after less than a year in the job.
The contract, unanimously approved this week by the school board, is a new five-year deal that rescinds Fessler's initial three-year contract, which began July 1, 2013. The new deal comes with salary increases that weren't included in the original contract.
During Fessler's first year in the district, he oversaw a renegotiation of the teachers union contract, implementation of increased teacher professional development time, and began working on creation of a district strategic plan.
"Three years is pretty standard for a first contract," Fessler said. "I would've preferred five to begin with. But the board wanted to see some level of performance before they committed to that."
Fessler, 48, is being paid a base salary of $225,000 in the current school year. His salary in subsequent years will include raises of 3 percent to 4.9 percent after accounting for a change in how benefits are paid. The initial contract didn't include salary increases.
The board agreed to pay health and dental coverage for Fessler and his family in the first year of the contract, but Fessler will be responsible for picking up those costs in the last four years of the agreement. All administrators receive a $20,000 insurance cost benefit from the school district, but Fessler said he will essentially be receiving that as part of his base salary in the upcoming year.
It's a move that will save the district money on the cost of insurance in later years because Fessler will be responsible for increases, but it also will benefit Fessler with a better pension upon retirement because his salary is higher.
Next year, his salary jumps to $252,369, an increase of $7,369 or about 3 percent after accounting for the insurance change. In subsequent years, his salary increases 4.9 percent each year to $264,826, $277,900 and $291,620.
The school board will continue to pick up the cost of Fessler's contribution to the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System and Illinois Teachers' Health Insurance Security Fund.
He is given a vehicle allowance of $7,500 and 23 vacation days every year.
Fessler's performance-based contract also stipulates that he must meet goals related to student performance and academic improvement, public relations, fiscal responsibility, and strategic planning.
The contract is in effect through June 30, 2018.
District 59 includes portions of Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect.