On Aug. 3 the District 65 School Board decided, by a 5-1 vote, to extend Superintendent Hardy Murphy’s contract to June 30, 2014. Bonnie Lockhart, Andrew Pigozzi, Jerome Summers, Keith Terry, and Kim Weaver voted for extension. Tracy Quattrocki cast the sole no vote. Katie Bailey was absent.
“The District 65 school community has a superintendent committed to the educational imperatives we believe necessary to provide the best possible school experiences for all of our students,” said Keith Terry, president of the School Board, in a prepared statement. “The contract extension is one way that this Board can show support of Dr. Murphy’s leadership, reward him, and give him the confidence going forward to know that he has our full support.”
The District said in a prepared statement that Dr. Murphy told the Board he would forego a salary increase this year in light of the tough economic environment. The statement says Dr. Murphy explained to the Board that he cared deeply about District 65 and Evanston and felt it was important to make this gesture as an indication of his concern for the tough times that all are facing.
Ms. Quattrocki said, “Having joined the Board three months ago, I really feel, with a new Board it is far too early in my tenure to extend the Superintendent’s contract five years. I think a five year contract is a very long contract and is not in the best interests of the District. In addition, as a Board, until we are able to set measurable goals for our Superintendent and administration, I think it is irresponsible to extend the contract five years.”
At the end of the Board meeting, Jean Luft, president of the District Educators’ Council, said, “DEC disagrees with the extension of the Superintendent’s contract for five years. We would request that you reconsider this policy of long-term five year contracts in the future.
“We would also request that a long term contract such as this one be presented and voted on at a regular School Board meeting which has public comment before the voting process.”
Dr. Murphy was appointed as superintendent at the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year, and his tenure has been extended from time to time since then. Before the extension, Dr. Murphy’s contract was set to expire on June 30, 2013.