Related to our story on the North Kitsap school board’s recent evaluation of Superintendent Patty Page, I’m sharing below documents I received from the district as a result of public records requests.
Page in May received a vote of no confidence from the teacher’s union. The board on July 14 gave her a largely favorable evaluation for her performance in the 2015-2016 school year (and a raise), as we reported, but in her goals for the upcoming school year (the last for Page, who retires in June 2017) the board expects Page to foster better relations with the union and the community.
As you can see from past evaluations, completed in 2013-2015, the board has held Page in high regard throughout her tenure. “You are a great leader. Keep it up. Your energy makes a big difference in running the school district,” the board’s summary evaluation for 2015 states.
The 2015 report makes note of a “concern of one board member that information presented to the board is not balanced.” And a midyear report in 2015 notes room for improvement “in community engagement and collaboration.” Otherwise the board has glowing praise for Page.
The evaluation’s quantitative scale scale ranges from 1 to 4, as follows: Distinguished (4.0), proficient (3.0), basic (2.0) and unsatisfactory (1.0). Most scores awarded by the board in 2015 for Page’s performance on evaluation criteria are in the mid- to high-3 range.
The 2014 evaluation lauds Page for navigating the district through a budget crisis, school closure and negotiation of several open contracts. “Patty was tough but fair and kept us in the know throughout the bargaining process,” the board stated in its June 2014 evaluation. Other comments: “Finances are better than in a decade; district better each year she is here.”
The board’s evaluations stand in sharp contrast to reports from the teachers’ union that members disapproved of her leadership as early as 2013, about a year after she joined the district.
The 2014 evaluation shows the board was well aware of the teachers’ discontent. “Patty has taken a lot of heat from the teachers’ union and the public, mostly based on board decisions. This created a lot of negative press, and (she) never once tried to blame the board.”
One “area for improvement” noted in 2014, “Need to increase delegation and take care of self by not putting in so many hours.”
That year, the board scored Page lowest in the area of “family and community engagement,” a score of 2.6 out of 4, where her overall score for 2014 was 3.275.
Related to the evaluation process, the board established goals for Page for the 2014-2015 school year, also for the 2015-2016 school year, and they have proposed goals for the 2016-2017 school year (to be approved Aug. 18).
In Page’s past contracts from the 2012-2013 school year (her first with the district) through the 2015-2016 school year, you can see her salary was $140,000 for her first two years, $146,000 in 2014 and initially $148,920 in 2015.
Page’s contract for the 2015-2016 school year was revised in August 2015 to reflect a 3 percent raise the board gave her, since the state gave a 3 percent raise to all certificated public school staff. Her salary then was $153,388.
In her contract for the upcoming school year, the board gave Page a 1 percent raise over her 2015-2016 salary of $153,388, plus a 1.8 percent raise which all public school certificated staff received from the state, for a salary of $157,711, plus benefits.
Stacie Schmechel and Suzi Crosby, two NK parents who diligently watch the school board’s actions, were at the July 14 meeting. Schmechel and Crosby have complained about the superintendent’s evaluation process and did so again at the meeting.
Crosby said the board needs to be more detailed and explicit in explaining their evaluation of the superintendent, and she said, they need to connect the dots between goals set at the beginning of the year and the superintendent’s performance on those goals.
Schmechel, during public comment at the meeting, stood silent at the microphone demonstrating what she said is a lack of response by the district to public records requests she has made regarding Page’s evaluations, including the board’s deliberations in executive session. Schmechel disputes that deliberations on the superintendent’s performance should take place behind closed doors.
The state’s open public meetings act exempts from open session meetings “to review the performance of a public employee.” Although final action — hiring, firing, renewal of contract, non-renewal — must take place in public.
The state’s open public records act generally exempts evaluations of a public employee from disclosure. But not in the case of the director or lead employee of a public agency.
“This is an exception to the normal rule that public employee evaluation information affects employee personal privacy rights and is exempt from disclosure under RCW 42.56. 230(3),” said Korrine Henry, North Kitsap’s public records officer. “The rationale for this exception is found in an appellate court decision involving a city manager. Like a city manager, a school superintendent manages the district and is evaluated directly by an elected school board, the same as the elected officials of a city evaluate a city manager, thus the public has a legitimate interest in knowing the results of the evaluation.”
The district doesn’t automatically make the superintendent’s final evaluations public, but will disclose them on request. Some districts make superintendent contracts easy to find on their websites. Why not final written evaluations?
Let me know if you have any trouble with the links or if you would like emailed copies of the documents. Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun education reporter
Footnote: Board President Beth Worthington said Friday she was in error at the July 14 meeting in saying the board had set goals for the three previous years (only two). Going forward, she said the superintendent’s performance on the past year’s goals will be documented as part of the year end evaluation (as on the evaluation approved last night).