Receiving glowing reviews from the Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education, Superintendent Sue Cleveland’s contract was extended for another year at Monday’s meeting, meaning she’ll be on board for at least three more years.
Cleveland receives an annual salary of $151,880, and she has refused to accept a raise — at least, until the board can afford to give raises to its teachers, staff members and administrators.
School board President Don Schlichte said Cleveland is underpaid: “I wish we could compensate you more than we do,” he said.
Proud of how far the district has come since its origins 19 years ago — “When we started this district in 1994, we started with nothing … zero,” Cleveland said — she thanked the board for its unanimous vote to extend her contract for another year.
“No one does the job alone,” she said.
Cleveland’s performance scores, as evaluated by the five board members, were exemplary: On a scale of 1 to 4, with a 1 meaning “does not meet expectations” and a 4 meaning “exceeds expectations,” Cleveland received an average score of 3.73 for 38 performance objectives.
The evaluations were reviewed earlier Monday during the board’s executive session.
Board members took turns touting Cleveland:
• “I think we have the best superintendent in the state; always have, always will,” said outgoing board member Margaret Terry;
• “You make me proud. You make us proud. You make the city proud,” said outgoing member Reinaldo Garcia;
• Carl Harper said he echoed Terry’s and Garcia’s comments, and that Cleveland had “unflagging determination … wisdom and knowledge” and after 18 years, was “still leading the charge;”
• Saying she possessed “excellent leadership,” Divyesh Patel, on a speaker phone, said, “We are very fortunate to have her as superintendent;”
• “I concur,” Schlichte concluded.
In other matters on the short agenda, the board:
• Heard a legislative update from state Sen. Craig Brandt, a former school board member whose remaining months on the board had been filled by Garcia. Brandt said he didn’t think Sen. John Sapien’s bill to change the funding formula would get anywhere; gave his perspective on the social promotion discussions; told of SB 393 and how this bill to prevent dropouts is similar to efforts already ongoing in Rio Rancho; and told of his work on SB 302, which deals with the home-school funding issue and would provide funds to schools with home-schooled students taking courses in public schools;
•Heard a textbook adoption report, which reiterated that textbooks available today aren’t addressing what’s going into the Common Core State Standards being adopted throughout the U.S. The recommendation was to keep using current textbooks until better, Common Core-useful texts were available;
• Approved, with a few minor changes, Policy 420, which deals with public performances and trips by students; and
•Gave the OK to Rio Rancho High School Activities Director Bill Duncan to proceed with his student government’s attempt to host the 2014 nation student conference.
The board’s next meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in the RRHS cafeteria, where Terry and Garcia will be given their sendoffs after their final meeting on the board.