NEWS BLOG (WSAU) It goes without saying, but this is the Wausau Board of Education, so it needs to be said. There should be no ‘going away’ bonus for Superintendent Steve Murley. His Wausau salary is $150,000, which makes him wealthy by Wausau standards. And he is leaving in the middle of a two-year contract. No doubt his new job in Iowa City will pay even more.
Why bring it up? Because five years ago the Wausau Board of Education gave superintendent Charles Skurka a $132,000 retirement bonus. The public, rightly, howled. Some board members are no longer in office because of it. The situations are different. Skurka was retiring leading the school district for a decade, during which he helped shape funding referenda that led to new and renovated school buildings. He was deserving of a ‘thank you’ from the community, although not by dipping into the public purse.
I agree with the school board’s evaluation of their soon-departing superintendent. Steve Murley was a ‘proficient’ leader. He didn’t stay long enough, like Skurka, to truly shape the district. He presided over tough times, dealing with declining enrollment and state funding cuts. He had poor relations with the teachers union, although much of that is background noise from difficult contract talks.
Steve Murley’s tenure as superintendent will be remembered as a status quo period. Maybe that was the best we could hope for with such deep budget cuts. Wausau was a good school district when Murley took over. It’s a good school district as he leaves.
Long term, though, status quo is not good for a school district. I hope the next superintendent will be someone exceptional who transfers that quality to our schools.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau