LONGMONT — Don Haddad on Wednesday received his first raise since becoming St. Vrain Valley School District superintendent on July 1, 2009.
Haddad will make $199,500 a year beginning July 1. He has been earning $175,000 annually, publicly refusing raises as school funding was cut.
When the school board extended Haddad's contract in February, he again said he would not accept a raise.
"I'm not the priority. The staff is the priority," Haddad said at the time. He was absent from Wednesday's meeting.
But school board members insisted.
The new salary is 14 percent higher than his current pay — the highest amount Haddad would accept because it equals the salary increases that other district employees have received since Haddad became superintendent, school board president John Creighton said.
Creighton praised Haddad's accomplishments, particularly "winning grants that no other school district in the country has won," while noting that Haddad will still be among the lowest paid superintendents on the Front Range.
In January 2012, Haddad's salary equaled $6.43 per student. With this raise, he will earn $6.78 per student, based on October 2012 enrollment as calculated by the Colorado Department of Education.
The Boulder Valley School District superintendent earned $7.27 per student in January 2012. In the Thompson School District, the superintendent earned $12.77 per student in January 2012.
"Administrators are an easy target to criticize, but I think we've seen that leadership makes a difference," Creighton said.
School board director Rod Schmidt agreed that Haddad is underpaid, adding that other superintendents wouldn't accept such a salary.
"We will probably never have the benefit of that good a deal again," Schmidt said.
Said school board director Dori Van Lone, "I truly believe that he deserves a higher pay."
Haddad's raise was approved unanimously. Board director Mike Schiers was absent.
Also during Wednesday's meeting, school board members approved promotions of Tori Teague and Kahle Charles. Teague, the executive director of assessment and curriculum, will be the assistant superintendent of assessment and curriculum beginning July 1.
In her new position, Teague will oversee an expanded staff to implement the new standardized testing that Colorado is going to require. Three technical instructors who work in district technology services will be moved to the assessment department, said assistant superintendent for human resources David Burnison.
Teague will earn $135,634 in her new position, the same salary as the district's other assistant superintendents, Burnison said.
Charles will move from being the director of curriculum to being the executive director of curriculum. He will continue to report to Teague; a new executive director of assessment will not be hired, Burnison said.
Charles, who is earning $108,871, will make $118,107 in his new job, Burnison said.