Board approves raise for Wiegand

Board approves raise for Wiegand

CHAMPAIGN — A week before five new faces join the Champaign school board, it voted Monday night to give Superintendent Judy Wiegand a raise of at least 3 percent.

The bump mirrors recent raises given to other Unit 4 employees and aligns with national cost-of-living standards, members said.

Here is the contract amendment.

The 6-0 vote brings Wiegand's salary for next year to $193,614.

Each member thanked Wiegand for her work over the past year, which she admitted to being "one of the most difficult of my career — for a variety of reasons" in an interview with The News-Gazette at her office before Monday's meeting.

Wiegand, who is under contract with Unit 4 through June 30, 2017, also did her best to put an end to online rumblings, saying she has no plans to retire before her deal ends. That would mark a five-year term for the former Centennial High School principal.

Near the top of her bucket list before then: devising a plan that addresses the future of Unit 4's two overcrowded high schools.

The district's last two attempts to pass nine-figure facilities packages that included a new Central High and a renovated Centennial failed at the polls — in November by a small margin, then earlier this month by a margin so wide that even Wiegand confessed to being caught off-guard.

"I would like to see some direction taken and something solidified," she said Monday. "Of course, with welcoming five new board members, we'll see what their thoughts are and what direction that takes. It's too early to talk about the specific pieces of it, but I would like to see, before I leave, at least some plan in motion."

On the academic side, Wiegand said she would like to see the computational-thinking and computer-science programs pioneered at Kenwood Elementary expanded to other schools across the district — and at all grade levels.

She also said she wants STEM initiatives to be expanded at the middle school level and a continuation of the district's focus on improving literacy at an early age.

As for the board — which next week will retain only two of its seven members, Laurie Bonnett and Lynn Stuckey — Wiegand said she has no concerns about the change and looks forward to what they will accomplish together.

"I think I have been somewhat of a unique superintendent because I have had so many different changes on my board so far. I don't want to say I'm getting used to it — you don't want to get used to that — but we will have a retreat in May with a Illinois Association of School Boards representative and that's very important to me," she said. "That's the time we come together and talk about how we are going to work together as a team. That sets the ground."

In their last official meeting before passing the torch, departing board members had only kind words for Wiegand.

"Your dedication to education and your ability to lead this district, as far as the education of our kids, has been fabulous," said Kristine Chalifoux. "I remember when we were doing that superintendent search and we decided to hire you. You've surpassed everything I expected as far as our ability to move education forward in this community. I really just want to thank you for being patient with those of us on the board, where education is not our background, explaining things in ways that we understand, coming to us with new ideas and new ways of looking at things and also keeping the things that work."

As for what comes after Wiegand's time at Unit 4 ends, she joked: "Ask me in a year."

"With it being two years out, I don't want to give off the impression that I'm on my way out or taking it easy," she said. "There's a lot of work still to be done."

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787 wrote on April 28, 2015 at 8:04 am

Couldn't come up with a referendum that the voters saw enough value in to pass.... twice.

Bought 80 acres of ground that the voters don't want to build a school on.

Let the kids run a rally/protest, that spilled into the street. which led to property damage.

Allowed a partisan voter drive in a school building.

Of course, that's worth a 3% raise.  A fine job.  We can only wait for her retirement day to come.

Is Arthur Culver available yet?

concerned22 wrote on April 28, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Since Dr. Wiegand has taken over the leadership of the district and "surpassing" the board's expectations....the district acheivement scores have fallen and the gap between white students and minoritiy students is reaching an all time high. 

The turnover for administrators leaving and teacher vacancies have increased. 

There is overcrowding in the elementary schools the same year(s) the sales tax money went to build new buildings and rennovate all but two of them...

Then of course the Central fiasco....

What is the BOE basing the 3% raise on???? 

Citizen1 wrote on April 28, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Justified because it "mirrors recent raises to other"s.  Never mind that it was un-earned, not based on accomplishments, and completely beyond belief given the level of disaster she created.  Why should anyone bother to work or be held accountable?  Everyone mirrors everyone else.  Sounds like the entire administrative group should be removed.