Five-year pact with superintendent on school board agenda tonight

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A proposed new five-year employment agreement for Rome school district Superintendent Peter C. Blake will be considered for approval by the Board of Education.

The agreement, dated April 23 of this year through April 22, 2024, would supersede Blake’s current three-year agreement which was to be through June 30 this year.

A resolution to approve the agreement is on the board’s agenda for its meeting tonight at Strough Middle School, 801 Laurel St. The regular session is expected to begin at 6:30 p.m., following an anticipated 5 p.m. closed executive session for the purpose of discussing legal matters.

The agreement includes “no immediate raise” for Blake, board president Paul Fitzpatrick said Monday. When asked for details about salary going forward, he said he would comment further after the board’s vote.

Blake’s current base salary is $168,000. That includes a $6,000 raise retroactive to July 1, 2018 that the board approved last October; it was Blake’s first raise since becoming superintendent in July 2016.

Regarding the overall proposed new five-year employment agreement for Blake, Fitzpatrick said “I think he earned it,” adding “we’d like to keep him around for awhile.”

The new agreement is “a fair thing to do,” commented Fitzpatrick, who observed that its length also “means we won’t have to keep negotiating back-and-forth all the time.”

Fitzpatrick noted the board conducts an annual evaluation of Blake that starts around May and is to be finished by the end of June in conjunction with the completion of the school district’s fiscal year.

Blake’s performance for the 2017-18 year that ended last June 30 was graded as “effective” by the board.

It was the second-highest among four rating levels in the evaluation system used by the board; the levels from lowest to highest included “ineffective,” “developing,” “effective,” and “highly effective.”

Fitzpatrick said last September that the board had started the process of discussing a potential extension of Blake’s contract.

The average school superintendent salary in New York state is $165,629 as of March 28, 2019, and the range typically falls between $135,293 and $199,855, according to the www1.salary.com site.

Among some of the other school district superintendents in Oneida County, Blake’s current salary range is less than superintendents in the Utica, New Hartford, Westmoreland, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill and Whitesboro districts, according to the seethroughny.net site.

The Utica school district is the only one of those that is larger than Rome in terms of enrollment.

Blake had not previously been a school superintendent before taking the Rome position in
2016.

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