Mountain View Whisman school board members voted unanimously last week to give Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph a 14% raise, calling it an important step toward making his salary close to that of other local superintendents.
Under the terms of the updated contract, Rudolph will now receive $281,477 in annual pay starting July 1, along with full family coverage for health insurance. The 5-0 vote at the June 13 school board meeting breaks from common practice across all three school districts serving Mountain View, where the superintendent typically gets a raise equal to the negotiated salary increase for its faculty and staff.
Teachers, classified staff and Rudolph were all given a 5 percent raise for the 2018-19 school year. It's unclear what teachers will receive for raises for the upcoming school year, as negotiations on an updated contract are ongoing.
Shortly before the vote, board president Tamara Wilson said the raise acknowledges Rudolph's good performance while also recognizing that his salary hasn't kept pace with what other districts are offering. The board's goal was to bring Rudolph's salary up to the top quartile of superintendent salaries in the area, and that the 14% raise barely puts him into that range.
"It's part of our strategic plan, and part of that was to identify what that target value was for superintendents," she said. "We did a regional analysis, up to date for this current school year, in addition to previous ones that have been published and presented to the public."
Wilson pointed to two studies previously commissioned by the district that concluded Mountain View Whisman's superintendent salary falls below the average compensation of similar districts in the area. She also suggested that Rudolph had accepted the position for less than what was advertised during the superintendent search in 2015, and that the district has been slow in past years to bring his salary up to a competitive level. Documents from the search firm at the time, Proact, described the job's expectations, and listed compensation as a range between $200,000 and $220,000. Rudolph's initial salary with the district in 2015 was $200,000, within the range advertised. The district also spent $87,000 on executive coaching services for Rudolph during his first two years working in the district.
Superintendent salaries in Santa Clara County are a mixed bag. On the lower end is the neighboring Los Altos School District, where Superintendent Jeff Baier's base salary is $255,749. Paul Johnson, recently hired as the superintendent of Los Gatos Union Elementary, received $278,000 this year, while Superintendent Benjamin Picard of the Sunnyvale School District is paid $342,383.
The new superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District, Nellie Meyer, will be receiving $302,500 in annual pay for the 2019-20 school year.
Wilson praised Rudolph's performance at the meeting, calling his management of school construction and his partnership with the city of Mountain View to build teacher housing remarkable achievements. She also cited his educational leadership, adding that early test results for this year show improved academic performance.
"We're extremely pleased with what we've been seeing in terms of all the changes at the different sites," she said. "Preliminary results for student performance this year -- which haven't yet come out yet -- look fantastic, and we trust in his leadership."