The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

August 16, 2012

Staff fumes as Mifflinburg superintendent pockets 4 percent raise

MIFFLINBURG — Hours after he told directors that his school district did not meet adequate yearly progress for the second year in a row, Superintendent Dan Lichtel on Tuesday night accepted a 4 percent raise under a performance-based incentive in his contract, double the salary increase he received in June.

Mifflinburg educators, who last year accepted a salary freeze as a result of state budget cuts, are furious.

“We, the faculty and staff, have done our part to save the district money,” said Jane Gessner, president of the Mifflinburg Area Education Association. “However, I am completely speechless and disheartened by what has occurred as a result of the school board meeting.

“In a time of economic struggle, high unemployment rates, public school funding cuts (and) activity fees rising for students, Mifflinburg school district apparently has a surplus of funds.”

Directors voted 9-0 to approve Lichtel’s salary increase following a late executive session at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The 4 percent, retroactive to July, is based on the $100,000 salary Lichtel earned in the 2011-12 school year.

The school board approved a 2 percent raise for Lichtel, and others, in June. Lichtel’s salary is now $102,000.

Lichtel’s contract stipulates that he is eligible for a 4 percent to 7 percent increase based on his performance evaluation. Given the economic climate, the board voted for the lower end, Lichtel said, adding that he received a positive evaluation.

Such an increase is covered in a salary line item of the school district budget, Lichtel said, and is calculated before the budget is passed.

Even with the increase, Lichtel is still on the lower end of superintendent salaries, director Neil Shoremans said.

“That’s typical if you move from a non-superintendent position into superintendent,” he said.

Lichtel’s five-year contract began in April 2010, when he was promoted to superintendent from curriculum coordinator. He’s been employed by the district for about 14 years.

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