Osseo Area Schools’ Maguire receives high marks but no bonus

Board members praise performance but cite budget concerns

The Osseo School Board gave Supt. Kate Maguire another positive performance review but withheld the optional performance incentive her contract allows.

The board conducted its evaluation in closed sessions during May and June but reported the results at its June 18 meeting. Board members assessed performance in six areas by responding to a series of questions with a rating of one to five, with one indicating unacceptable performance and five representing outstanding performance.

Kate Maguire
Kate Maguire

The areas assessed were policy and governance; planning and assessment; instructional leadership; organizational management; communications and community relations; and professionalism.

“The overall score for Dr. Maguire was 4.22,” Chair Dean Henke said. “This score places the superintendent’s performance between very good and outstanding performance. On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank Dr. Maguire for a job well done in her third year as superintendent.”

Maguire’s contract gives the board discretion to consider a performance incentive based on a mutually agreed-upon objective.

Last year she received a performance incentive of $7,500. She used $1,500 of that to purchase a table at District 279 Foundation’s fundraising dinner in February.

For the past school year Maguire and the board agreed on seven results statements as the goal. The board determined progress was being made on six and one had been fully accomplished. However, in the wake of making $3.1 million cuts and with the possibility of future reductions looming, the board withheld the bonus.

“The board has the sole and complete discretion to pay an annual performance incentive, and based upon our evaluation, we have determined that the superintendent has earned a performance incentive,” Henke said. “The board has also determined that based upon our current financial position, the board will not award a performance incentive this year.”

Henke shared some of the comments written by board members on the evaluation that addressed strengths, as well as areas for improvement.

Here are some of the positive comments he shared: “Kate does an outstanding job in overseeing the daily operations of the district. Kate communicates effectively with the board through multiple measures. She is responsive to board members’ interests and takes input and feedback into consideration … Kate is willing to challenge the traditional system and look at creative ways to help students achieve academic excellence. … Kate remains calm in critical situations and makes decisions based on facts and not emotion. … Kate does very well in researching and understanding education issues.”

Here are some of the suggestions for improvement board members made in the evaluation: “We have yet to have everyone on board for standards-based grading and diversity training. … Communication on levy and legislative initiatives was very good. Communication with staff, students and parents on standards-based grading needs continued focus and improvement. … Monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of curriculum and programs needs to be ongoing during the school year. Standards-based grading needs to be fully embedded within our staff so students can fully benefit from the program.”

Other board members added verbal comments June 18.

“I just want to thank you for going above and beyond,” Director Tammie Epley said. “I know that we can always count on you to handle whatever situation our district is faced with.”

“You’re very wise and very thorough,” Director Jim Burgett said. “And it is exceedingly obvious that you care deeply for our students and staff.”

“Even though it’s only been five months, I’d like to say I’ve really enjoyed working with Kate,” Director Linda Etim said. “Kate works around the clock, it seems.”

Director Jacki Girtz agreed with the praise. “Being a new board member, I’ve felt very welcomed and very well informed,” she added.

Maguire thanked the board for its participation in education and also acknowledged other district staff.

“I’m so blessed and privileged to work with a group of executive team members and other staff members in our school district – and board members – to serve our 20,000-plus students,” Maguire said.

Maguire’s original contract was approved June 15, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2013. The base salary was $194,555.

The latest contract was approved Oct. 2, 2012, effective July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016. The base salary remained the same, the possibility of an annual performance incentive remains. Vacation and other benefits all stayed the same in this contract as well.