Board also extends other leadership contracts as district continues reform efforts
The Milwaukee Board of School Directors has extended the contract of Superintendent Gregory E. Thornton, Ed.D., through June 2015. The contracts of Board Clerk/Director, Office of Board Governance Lynne Sobczak and Chief Accountability and Efficiency Officer Robert Del- Ghingaro were extended for one year.
“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Thornton will remain with the district through 2015,” said School Board President Michael Bonds. “Working with the Board, Dr. Thornton has made significant progress on development and implementation of a strong academic plan designed to increase student success. His leadership has also allowed us to take critical steps that are stabilizing MPS financially.”
Thornton’s base salary remains at $265,000, the same rate it has been since he was hired in 2010. Beginning in FY14, the contracts add $18,000 to Thornton’s retirement plan and Sobczak receives $2,000 that can be used for retirement benefits. Accountability officer DelGhingaro received an additional $6,675 this fiscal year that can also be used for retirement benefits. Their salaries also remain the same.
Under Thornton’s leadership, MPS has created comprehensive literacy, mathematics, and science plans for all district students. The plans are aligned with the rigorous Common Core State Standards to prepare all students for college and careers. Student suspensions are down and graduation rates and ACT scores are up. MPS has received more than $100 million in grants over the past two years, including a $20.4 million GE Foundation grant which is being used to create innovation schools that will become a model of reform. Changes to district benefits instituted by Dr. Thornton and the Board could amount to savings in excess of $350 million in coming years, with some savings being realized now. Additional savings will come from other efforts including the use of a food services commissary and a rebid of district transportation contracts.
“I’m appreciative of the support of the Board of Directors and excited to continue the work we’re engaged in to improve outcomes and opportunities for our students,” said Thornton. “Much work remains to be done, but we are clearly headed in the right direction. I look forward to working with the Board, our parents, students and the community to continue to improve student achievement and success.”
Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for 2000, growing math standardized test scores representing 10-point growth in the last six years and growing ACT scores.