WESTFIELD, NJ — The school district superintendent would be eligible for up to $24,199 in bonus pay if she meets goals approved by the Board of Education.

The school board on Tuesday approved the goals pertaining to public communication, school security and full-day kindergarten. The board’s decision comes two months after Gov. Phil Murphy lifted a controversial cap on school superintendents’ salaries enacted in 2010.

Superintendent Margaret Dolan leads a district of just over 6,200 students in 10 schools. If approved, the merit pay would come on top of her existing salary of $204,526 listed in the school budget. While seven of the nine school board members approved the plan, the decision did not come without dissent.

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Members Michael Bielen and Brian Morrissey abstained from the voting.

“We received the list of goals on this past Friday, and have never seen them before,” Bielen said. “We’ve never had a discussion as a board about them.”

“One of the superintendent’s goals is increasing likes on Facebook and Twitter by 200 likes,” he added. “What’s that measuring, as far as success? … I’m just not clear on that.”

Responding to Bielen, Dolan explained how the goals were determined.

“Every year, the goals are based on both the strategic plan, but also the feedback that the board gives me at the end of the year,” Dolan said. “The one you referenced came from feedback saying that that area needed to be improved, so that’s why it was included.”

“I did send the suggested goals once in June, just as broad topics,” she added. “And then in August, they were sent again to board members and asking for feedback.”

MORE: Public Weighs in on Security Updates at Westfield Schools

The approved superintendent goals are as follows:

Goal 1: By May 2020, the Superintendent will encourage and increase visits to the district website by 5% and followers to the district social media accounts by 200.

Goal 2: By May 2020, the Superintendent will prepare two newsletters for distribution to the community that provides information about district initiatives and current issues affecting the school district.

Goal 3: By May 2020, the Superintendent will develop consistent security protocols for all schools to follow and will provide at least eight training sessions for staff on security.

Goal 4: By May 2020, the Superintendent will clearly communicate the information necessary for Westfield community members to understand the options and challenges relative to implementing full-day kindergarten in the Westfield Public School District.

If these goals are met, merit increases to Dolan’s salary would be as follows:

Goal 1: $6,884.36 (increase of 3.3%)
Goal 2: $5,215.43 (increase of 2.5%)
Goal 3: $6,884.36 (increase of 3.3%)
Goal 4: $5,215.43 (increase of 2.5%)

Board President Peggy Oster said the discussions about goals may have been missed due to lengthy conversations about security.

“We usually discuss this at the end of the year,” Oster said. “We did a lot of discussion of security in June, and it’s possible that some of us missed it due to that conversation.”

In addition to superintendent goals, the board voted unanimously to approve three goals that the district will work to meet during the school year.

Dolan explained that the three goals are as follows:

Goal 1: to improve communications from the district to parents and the community.
Goal 2: to increase awareness of the district’s new safety and security protocols.
Goal 3: to communicate information about the district’s plans to incorporate full-day kindergarten.

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