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Rock Island-Milan school board members said they had some “sticker shock” in hearing what their superintendent search consultant recommended as a salary range for the district’s next top leader.

Mike Rush of Ray and Associates communicated with board members via phone during Tuesday’s board meeting to discuss salary range and potential costs to the district for candidate travel expenses. The board also discussed which meetings should be conducted via phone or Skype and which meetings with candidates should be held in person.

The number that caught board members off guard was $190,000, which was Rush’s suggestion of a possible salary for the district’s next superintendent. The board is considering this information and other matters in preparation for compiling a flier to advertise for the job.

When board members asked for a range, Rush suggested $187,00 to $195,000, with the ultimate number being negotiable and based on experience. Rush said his suggestion was based on information on what current superintendent Mike Oberhaus would be making in the 2019-2020 school year if he stayed on, what surrounding districts and those around the country are paying their superintendents.

Board member Terell Williams said Oberhaus is now making $175,000 and Rush’s suggested salary seemed like quite a jump.

“Here’s my angle. Mike’s the most experienced person we can find for the district,” he said. “Someone brand new to the district, we don’t even know what qualifications (they may have), and we want to give them a $13,000 pay bump.”

Rush said the district does not want to be at the bottom of the salary scale, but he understands it also cannot be at the top. He said on top of the salary, the district can expect another $10,000 to $15,000 in insurance and other compensation.

“Based on that information,” board president Linda Dothard said, “I’m looking around the board and our bottom is too high at $187,000. I’m looking around seeing nods.”

Rush then suggested the board could go to $178,000 to $185,000, and board member Gary Rowe said that number sounded “more palatable”

Board member Dave Rockwell reminded board members that Oberhaus “has been a really special employee of ours,” noting the first five years of his nine years as superintendent he refused a raise and remained at a salary of $170,000. Rockwell said he believed Oberhaus is grossly underpaid based on his counterparts in the area and $190,00 is probably what he should currently be making.

Administrators also updated board members on the online stakeholder survey to gain input for the search. They said they hope to see a big jump in the number of responses for the survey, which closes Sept. 24.

Board members also heard a report from assistant superintendent Kathy Ruggeberg on the district’s first stab at online registration.

The district had 608 students register using the online form during summer registration and 56 students paid some of their registration fees.

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Business Editor/Night City Editor