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Published: Friday, 1/3/2003

Sanders to direct schools until '09

Dr. Eugene Sanders, superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, said he has committed to lead the 37,000-student district until 2009 even with a contract that doesn't specify any raises.

“We can't afford it. We're in a deficit position, and we can't afford to give him a raise,” Peter Silverman said yesterday after he was re-elected school board president during an organizational meeting.

Dr. Sanders began with the district in August, 2000, with a four-year contract that had a base salary of $141,225. He now is paid $147,768 and receives nearly $10,000 in incentive pay.

An additional $10,440 is put into an annuity on his behalf each year.

The board will review Dr. Sanders' performance each year and possibly grant raises, Mr. Silverman said. The five-year contract will give Dr. Sanders greater legitimacy as a leader and better authority to effect change, he said.

The board hopes the contract will prevent Dr. Sanders from seeking another superintendency, Mr. Silverman said. “The board wants a long-term leader that can make needed changes,” he said. “There are a number of changes that need to be made. If people think a person at the top is short-term, it's easier to wait someone out than to make the changes.

“We're saying, `He's here to say. He's here to make changes,'” Mr. Silverman said.

Earlier in his tenure, Dr. Sanders's stated goals were:

  • Pass the 6.5-mill operating levy, which was successful in November, 2000.

  • Open Old West End and Grove Patterson academies, which has been done.

  • Get the district out of academic emergency status and into the continuous improvement category, based largely on the results of state proficiency tests.

    While the district last year had its best performance ever on the state exams, it remains in academic emergency.

    Dr. Sanders' goals for the next year include:

  • Achieving passage of levy renewals.

  • Increasing enrollment.

  • Reducing student suspensions and dropout rates.

  • Increasing the district's performance on the Ohio proficiency tests.

  • Creating a budget reduction plan for the 2003-2004 year.

    A recent five-year forecast shows the district will have to cut nearly $19 million this year to balance its budget. Mr. Silverman yesterday said the Ohio Department of Education will review the forecast, which also predicts a $61 million shortfall over the next four years, even assuming two operating levies are renewed in each of the next two years.

    The state review should be completed in February, Mr. Silverman said.

    Toledo Federation of Teachers leaders have questioned the accuracy of the forecast, and a district watchdog group, Parents for Public Schools, called for an independent review.

    The board also dealt with its own leadership. Mr. Silverman will continue for a year as board president, his third leading the five-member panel. Terry Glazer, who served as president during 1998 and '99, will be vice president.

    Mr. Silverman, Mr. Glazer, and Anita Lopez voted for the reorganized slate of officers. Larry Sykes and David Welch abstained.

    In 2000, then-board president Mr. Sykes and Mr. Welch suggested Mr. Glazer resign from the board when he didn't support a 6.5-mill levy campaign.

    “We've had our problems. We've had our differences. I just want to have it crystal clear that Mr. Glazer as vice president will support this district and the levy election and the staff, and not do the sort of things that [he's] done in the past,” Mr. Sykes said.

    Mr. Glazer at the time said he thought the district should have a better plan for reform and improvement before asking voters for money.

    “I want your word now that you will be supportive of this board, this administration, and this superintendent,” Mr. Sykes told Mr. Glazer.

    Mr. Glazer, whose second elected term on the board ends this year, replied that he could not promise he'd always agree or vote with other board members as Mr. Sykes suggested. “What matters is what's good for the district,” he said. “I believe I've always done, in my opinion, what's good for the kids of this district.

    “I have to vote based on what I feel is the right thing to do,” Mr. Glazer said.



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