LANSING | The Lansing Elementary District 158 Board of Education approved a new contract for Superintendent Cecilia Heiberger last week by a 6-1 vote.
Heiberger's old contract was to run until June 2015 at an annual salary of $165,000. The new deal runs from May 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017. A 4 percent raise — about $6,600 — will kick in on July 1 under terms of the new contract.
Board member Anthony Arens cast the only vote against awarding the new contract. He said it was an attempt by Heiberger to have a new deal in place before the Illinois General Assembly enacts pension reform, as is widely expected.
"I thought that she should serve out her existing contract," Arens said. "Why should she get to take advantage of a system that's broken?"
Board President Robert Wood noted that Heiberger recently earned her doctorate and said she is deserving of the new contract.
"(Heiberger) is a shining beacon of education and we're very proud to have her in our district," he said.
Wood said the new contract was approved with pension concerns in mind. He said there is talk of the state Legislature putting a cap on the amount on which a pension can be based.
Wood said District 158 has done its part by making its payments into the Teacher Retirement System.
"If the state of Illinois can't fulfill its obligation to take care of the pension fund, that's not Lansing School District's fault," Wood said. "We've paid our share. They need to follow up on their promises."
Heiberger, who has served as D.158 superintendent since July 2009, offered no comment on the details of her new contract, but did express her thanks to the board.
"I want to continue carrying out the vision that we have in place for this district," Heiberger said.
She noted construction projects and an increase in the use of technology by students as highlights of her tenure as superintendent.
Also last week, the board approved contracts to hire Olivia Nieves as district ESL teacher, Angela Perry as a literature teacher at Memorial Junior High School and Matthew Becker as band director at Memorial Junior High.
The board accepted resignations, effective May 31, from Coolidge Elementary first-grade teacher Jackie Galambos, Coolidge kindergarten teacher Jamie Landahl and Memorial Junior High science teacher Matthew Landahl.