Washington West Supervisory Union (WWSU) will move from its space at Small Dog Electronics to a new space in the Mad River Industrial Park when its lease expires next June.

The WWSU executive committee, after meeting last week and hearing the recommendation of Superintendent Brigid Scheffert, voted to move to the new space. The board, at a November 9 meeting, received a packet of information from Scheffert on lease options.

According to the unapproved minutes of that meeting, Scheffert told the executive committee that representations from current landlord Don Mayer, owner of Small Dog Electronics, about the current space were inaccurate. Mayer, in a letter detailed in The Valley Reporter two weeks ago, asked Scheffert to stop disparaging him, the leased space and the cost of renting there. The letter stemmed from comments made to various school boards in the supervisory union regarding conditions at Small Dog this summer and fall.

At last week’s meeting, board members discussed whether or not to move to a new space – with Scheffert arguing that the Small Dog space is not 3,000 square feet but rather only 2,500 square feet so the per square foot rental cost is $12.98  rather than $12.73 per square foot (based on 3,000 square feet). The new space, at 3,000 square feet, would cost $32,004 ($10.67 per square) in 2013, compared to Small Dog at $32,472.

The new space is on the second floor and located in the building that formerly housed Controlled Energy. It includes a conference room and utilities. The new space does not have enough storage and a storage space for $500 annually may be needed.

The costs to move the supervisory union to the new space and set it up are expected to be $10,000. The board approved the motion to move to the new space and if moving costs exceed $10,000, or go up to $12,000, the board wants those costs shifted from somewhere else. The board also made a motion to “express appreciation to Mr. Mayer for the years of tenancy at Small Dog.”

At the same meeting, board members began working on the WWSU budget for the coming year. The new budget includes a systems administrator position as a supervisory union employee who would be paid $63,043 per year. That position was formerly a technology coordinator and the new salary is up from $20,000 in last year’s WWSU budget.

Under a contract for Scheffert that was signed this summer, the superintendent will receive a wage increase of $8,455 next year.  Scheffert’s current salary (excluding a $3,000 summer bonus) is $104,545 and will rise to $113,000 next year. Projected wage increases for the rest of the supervisory union staff total $21,245. 

Scheffert received a $3,000 bonus this summer from the executive committee as a performance bonus. Board member Scott Mackey said that this summer’s bonus reflected the fact that Scheffert was “one of the lowest paid superintendents in the region,” and that funds for the bonus came from WWSU’s already approved budget.

According to a story by Andy Bromage that ran in Seven Days in August 2010, salaries for the 60 superintendants in Vermont ranged from $164,645 to $72,000. Salary ranges for the 10 highest paid in 2010 ranged from $164, 645 to $113,014 and for the 10 lowest paid ranged from $96,324 to $72,000. Washington West was not listed in either the top 10 or the bottom 10.