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Seattle School Superintendent Reports On State Of The District; Board Considers Raising His Pay


The Seattle School District faces some ongoing challenges. This was one of the messages of the “State of the District” address delivered by Seattle Superintendent Larry Nyland.

Nyland said closing the achievement gap between students of color and their white counterparts remains a top priority. Another goal is for the district to do a better job of figuring out when to communicate information with schools and parents.

“When do we ask for input; and how, and when do we ask for input from parents and make them more a part of the decision process,” said Nyland.

Nyland has been superintendent since the summer of 2014. He was chosen to fill the job permanently last January.

Meanwhile the Seattle School Board will vote in the next few weeks on a $13,000 salary increase and one-year contract extension for Nyland. If that happens he would earn $289,878 a year. He already earns more than Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

In its proposal, the Board says it wants to keep the superintendent’s salary competitive with other cities, such as Boston, San Francisco and Portland.

Tina Podlodowski, the parent of a first grader at Queen Anne Elementary, says giving Nyland a raise would send the wrong message.

“You take a raise when we’ve got every PTSA in the city holding bake sales and car washes just to pay for school supplies? To me, that says something about you as a leader,” said Podlodowski.

Podlodowski was one of several parents holding signs criticizing the proposed raise and Nyland’s job performance when he delivered the “State of the District” address at city hall.

Credit Jennifer Wing / KPLU

Nyland is not phased by the lack of confidence.

“My raise is not going to solve any of the issues we have on the table. I’ve done better than anyone else and I will take the smallest raise in the district as far as I know,” said Nyland.

If the raise is approved, Nyland said for the first year of the increase he will give back half of the $13,000 to the general fund.

Along with boosting his salary, the school board is also considering extending Nyland’s contract by one year. The board will vote on the raise and contract extension on November 18.

Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.