Hawthorn Dist. 73 extends superintendent's contract for two years
Hawthorn District 73 Superintendent Nick Brown received a vote of confidence this week with a two-year contract extension.
Brown had more than a year left on his current pact, but the board opted to wrap him up until June 30, 2020, as a sign of continuity as the Vernon Hills-based district proceeds with major initiatives, including a $42 million referendum to fund building renovation and expansion.
"With the issues facing the district we felt it made sense to extend his contract," school board President Jeff Bard said. "It was something we wanted to do."
Brown came to District 73 in 2012 from the Porter Township School Corporation in Indiana. His base salary this school year is $207,507. With district pension contributions, health and dental insurance and other benefits the total package is worth $240,134.
Bard said the contract extension calls for annual salary raises of 2 percent or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is higher.
The school board's original motion was for a two-year extension, but it was amended after board member Sonali Patil asked it be changed to one-year. That was defeated, and a motion to extend the contract for two years then was approved 5-2, with Patil voting against.
She said her position involved the contract length rather than Brown's performance. Board member Robin Cleek voted no on both motions.
Brown, 54, said the pact was "mutually agreeable" and he was excited to continue.
He cited as highlights full-day kindergarten, a revised curriculum, technology upgrades to include Chromebooks next year for middle school students, re-establishment of an education foundation and a planned volunteer mentoring program.
One of the most intense activities has been a nearly yearlong process that resulted in a 10-year master facilities plan and pending request to voters to fund it. Approval would add $310 a year to the tax bill for a house valued at $350,000.
Since 2012, enrollment at the district's six schools has increased by 234 students to 4,202 at the beginning of the current year. Facilities are full and projections are for as many as 705 more students in coming years.
Brown has been holding public information sessions with community groups and others to explain why the plan is needed.
"Most of the folks I talk to understand we've got an issue we've got to solve," he said.
The next sessions are from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Aspen Drive library, 701 Aspen Drive, and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Sullivan Center, 635 N. Aspen Drive, both in Vernon Hills.
The plan calls for adding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas at all elementary schools and renovating those at middle schools.
That is in addition to a planned 18-room, $11.8 million kindergarten addition at Sullivan Center across the street from District 73's south campus. That would be paid with existing funds and is not part of the referendum.