The Sitka School Board has extended superintendent Mary Wegner’s contract for another year — to 2021.

The decision came Thursday night (2-15-18) after a performance review lasting almost three hours — all of which took place behind closed doors.

Downloadable audio.

Board president Jennifer McNichol would not elaborate on the board’s feelings about Wegner’s work, other than to say they “supported her leadership in addressing the board goals for the school district.”

The board offered Wegner a one-percent pay hike. McNichol said the raise was in recognition of Wegner’s progress in the role of superintendent.

“She is working diligently to try and address our specific goals which we feel are reflective of the needs of our students. We feel like she’s definitely aiming for those goals and is working hard to meet them, and we feel like there’s progress being made, and we hope to see more progress. So that was the basis of that (1-percent pay raise).”

Wegner, for her part, was upbeat about the evaluation.

“I’m very ecstatic. I really appreciate the ability to partner with the board. The work we’re doing is really important. They’re a relatively new board, but I feel like — and this is going to sound weird — I feel like they’re becoming my board. We’re starting to gel as an administrator-board. So that was a very helpful process.”

Wegner had asked for a 1.6-percent pay raise — the same that teachers will receive next year — but accepted the board’s one-percent counter-offer.

The preliminary budget for 2019 shows a deficit of over $2-million, with no clear path to a remedy; no one knows this better than Wegner. Although she’s eligible to retire, Wegner wants to ride this out.

“We have incredible staff, we have an incredible school board, we have an incredible community. And I feel very passionate about the work that we’re doing, and I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else but Sitka. I think we can work through this — it will be hard. It will be very difficult. But we’re all here for the students and that’s what matters.”

Wegner was hired to head Sitka’s School District in 2014, after serving four years as assistant superintendent. The one-percent raise puts her salary next year at $124,863.