Share This Page

Acting superintendent's $40K bonus draws ire of Gateway parents

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

Some are questioning the Gateway School Board's decision to give a $40,000 bonus to administrator Bob Reger for the additional hours he worked as interim superintendant since last April.

The school board voted unanimously Nov. 14 to pay Reger an additional $5,000 for each of the eight months he helped run the district after former Superintendent Joseph Petrella resigned.

The district budgeted more than $58,000 for a superintendent's salary from July through November. Because the position was vacant, the funding is available for other uses, such as the salary bonus, board members said.

“Mr. Reger volunteered and stepped in during a very chaotic period of time, when we had a superintendent decide to leave rather abruptly,” board member Skip Drumheller said at last week's school board meeting. “As you all know in this room, this is a very trying period for all of public education, particularly in this district. Mr. Reger accepted those responsibilities … he helped us avoid a catastrophe.”

School directors commended the numerous 12-hour days that Reger worked over the last eight months.

However, some taxpayers argued that the bonus is too generous, particularly at a time when the district is cutting bus service for financial reasons.

“You are accountable for how you spend our money, and tonight, you spent $40,000 with a lot of money needed for transportation and other needs,” resident Michelle Vojtek said.

Gateway reduced its transportation costs this year from about $4 million to $3.7 million by eliminating routes and midday busing.

With the money saved, school board member Bob Elms last month proposed spending $5,000 to transport hockey and lacrosse teams. His resolution failed in a 5-4 vote.

This month, the parents and coaches of seventh- and eighth-grade wrestlers asked the district to bus students from Gateway Middle School to the high school during a time in the day when most parents work, parent Dana Boehm said.

It would cost about $3,840 per week for about eight weeks to transport the wrestlers, school board President Dave Magill said.

Also, some parents have argued that midday busing should be provided for private-school students, after Gateway eliminated half days this year to cut costs.

Vojtek said the board should have put more consideration into the needs of the district before awarding Reger an additional $40,000.

“ I'm not saying Bob (Reger) didn't deserve that money and earn that money, but when you hired him as acting superintendent, you should have agreed upon how much you were going to pay him and done it then.”

School Board President Dave Magill asked Vojtek if she worked and if she earned overtime.

“No, I do not,” Vojtek replied. “I get a straight salary, and I just worked a 12-hour day myself. In the real world, which I want (the school board) to start thinking about … things like this don't exactly get rubber stamped. There should have been discussion, there should've been more thought put into giving him and rubber stamping $40,000. That's a lot of money.”

Petrella quit his position at Gateway to become superintendent of the Diamond Lake Elementary District in Illinois.

His permanent replacement, Nina Zetty, is slated to begin working at Gateway at the start of December. Zetty is wrapping up her tenure as superintendent of the Peters Township School District.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.