Wake Ed

Wake County school chief may get chance for 5-percent raises

Dr. Jim Merrill, Wake County Superintendent of Schools, throws a beach ball into the crowd to get things rocking at a celebration held at Combs Elementary School after it was named the best magnet school in the country on May 19, 2014. This is the second time the school has won the award; they were rated the best of over 300 other magnet schools from around the U.S.
Dr. Jim Merrill, Wake County Superintendent of Schools, throws a beach ball into the crowd to get things rocking at a celebration held at Combs Elementary School after it was named the best magnet school in the country on May 19, 2014. This is the second time the school has won the award; they were rated the best of over 300 other magnet schools from around the U.S. cseward@newsobserver.com

The Wake County school board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a change in Superintendent Jim Merrill’s contract that would allow him to get annual pay increases of up to 5 percent.

In the contract amendment, the board notes how Merrill wasn’t given a raise on his $275,000 base salary when his contract was extended in October. According to the contact amendment, the board is modifying the deal “in recognition of Dr. Merrill’s sound leadership” and to improve Wake’s chances of retaining Merrill by giving him opportunities for “performance-based compensation.”

Merrill would be eligible to receive up to 5 percent of his salary based on the board’s annual evaluation of his performance. Once the amount is determined, half would be paid as a one-time payment and the other half as an increase in Merrill’s salary.

Merrill’s first chance for the pay boost would come after his evaluation for the 2014-15 school year.

The contract change comes at a time when Wake school board members have criticized the state’s efforts to encourage the use of performance-based pay for teachers.

The contract change also comes at a time when other North Carolina school districts have upped their pay for superintendents. Wake is the state’s school district, but Merrill is the second-highest paid superintendent, behind William Harrison in the much-smaller Alamance-Burlington school system.

In February, the Alamance-Burlington school board hired Harrison with a salary of $330,000 a year. Harrison gets $245,000 from state and local taxpayer funds and $85,000 from outside community organizations.

Merrill used to be superintendent in Alamance-Burlington.

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