WRIGHT TWP. – Crestwood School District Superintendent Dave McLaughlin-Smith got a win-lose deal with his contract renewal extending his tenure in the post through June 2017: A sizable pay raise and a big jump in how much he pays toward health insurance coverage.
The school board approved a renewal of McLaughlin-Smith's contract last week, bumping his salary up from a bit more than $105,000 to $117,500. But board Vice President Gene Mancini noted that McLaughlin Smith received no raises for several years.
And he is promised no raises through the length of the new contract, Mancini said. Both contracts leave salary increases solely at the discretion of the board, which evaluates McLaughlin-Smith's performance each year. Mancini pointed out that a good evaluation doesn't guarantee a raise, and the lack of a raise doesn't indicate a bad evaluation. A tight budget can be reason enough to freeze pay.
The new contract also increases the percentage of the health insurance premium McLaughlin-Smith must pay, from 15 percent to 20 percent. Crestwood School Board and particularly Mancini have been proponents of premium sharing for years.
The pay increase brings McLaughlin-Smith's salary up to the average for Luzerne County superintendents in 2010-11, the latest data available from the state Department of Education. At that time, the average was $117,493. That figure does not include Greater Nanticoke Area, where Anthony Perrone has served as superintendent without drawing a salary since retiring from the post in 2003.
The district's next big contract negotiation, with the support staff, must contractually begin in January. The last negotiations spanned eight years with several interim agreements helping avoid gridlock, and an agreement was made only after a Luzerne County judge ended a union strike and ordered daily negotiations.