St. Paul Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva’s annual job review came and went Tuesday night without a grade being given for her performance.
But she’s due to benefit anyway, thanks to a new three-year contract extension negotiated and approved in March — months before a series of high-profile incidents pointing to ongoing safety concerns in the state’s second-largest school district.
Under the deal, Silva will receive a 4 percent raise, from $204,833 to $213,0126, effective Jan. 1. She also will continue to collect $11,000 per year in longevity pay in recognition of her 28 years of service in the St. Paul Public Schools.
Because she was in the transition year between three-year contracts, Silva’s current school board bosses were not required to declare this year whether she’d done a “satisfactory” job in 2015 — a requirement for the bonus payments offered in the first two years of the current agreement.
In a five-sentence statement about last week’s closed-door meeting with Silva, Chairwoman Mary Doran said board members “agreed on areas of strength and opportunities for improvement and shared this feedback with her.” Doran also noted that the board looked forward to working with Silva in improving communications with staff and creating a “culture of respect and appreciation throughout the organization.”
Doran, however, will not be part of that effort. She was one of three incumbents swept aside by a Caucus for Change movement critical of district leaders. In January, four political newcomers take office.
They’ve credited Silva for her work to erase racial inequities, but have questioned, too, missteps that fast-tracked the transfer of English language learners and special-education students into mainstream classrooms.
Recently, Mary Vanderwert commended Silva for her creativity but said the superintendent needed help executing her ideas. Jon Schumacher said he also looked forward to working with Silva.
While campaigning, none of the newcomers suggested exploring a contract buyout.
But unrest continues within the district.
Last week, after a Central High teacher was choked into unconsciousness by a student, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers filed a petition to take its contract talks with the district into state mediation.
The union since has made it clear it is not seeking to have Silva removed.
On Tuesday night, Silva addressed safety issues. She stated she would not tolerate behavior that puts students and staff at risk.
Also Tuesday, the board approved a 2016 tax-levy increase of 3.5 percent.
The district’s levy is one piece of a property-tax bill. Ramsey County said that the owner of the city’s median-valued $151,500 home can expect to see a 4.7 percent property-tax increase.