Handshake of businessmenoncepts - soft focus

"The board named Reynolds as PUSD’s new superintendent in December."

The Peoria Unified School District Governing Board Meeting voted unanimously to approve the contract of Dr. Jason Reynolds at the board’s Jan. 23 meeting.

The board named Reynolds as PUSD’s new superintendent in December. Reynolds will remain deputy superintendent for the district until July 1, when he will replace Linda Palles, who retires as superintendent June 30.

According to records provided by the PUSD to the Peoria Times, Reynolds’ base salary will be $205,000. He is eligible for performance-based incentives of up to 5 percent and $600 per month for car expenses.

Reynolds thanked the governing board, stating how much he is looking forward to his collaboration with them in the future.

“It is a really exciting opportunity, and having the opportunity to get to know you as a leadership group, getting to know cabinet, as well as the leadership around the district: teachers and students, parents, as I mentioned earlier, it is a special place, and I am incredibly excited and honored to have this opportunity,” Reynolds said.

The board approved American Legion Post 62’s donation of audio equipment to PUSD’s schools for their music and arts programs. The donations come as part of the Legion’s “Operation Helping Hands Program.”

 Among the items donated were several guitar amps, other instruments and guitar floor processors, assessed at a total of $13,899.85.

Board member Monica Ceja Martinez said the post has been “very generous” with their time and funds since about 2017, and said the PUSD governing board was very appreciative.

“The American legion comes in and teaches our students about Patriotism and the importance of the flag, but they’ve also supported resources, and supporting how important the arts are to our students with instruments and materials to some of our title 1 schools, so I wanted to say a great thank you,” Ceja Martinez. 

Among other business was the tabling of the governing board’s 2020 goals. The board, as part of its strategic plan moving forward, put together a draft of its first calendar-year goals, but the consensus was they were incomplete.

The goals were listed in a board document:

• Goal area – Superintendent

Build a positive and sustainable relationship with the superintendent based on clear expectations, quality communication and trust.

• Goal Area – Policy

Complete a review of policies unique to Peoria Unified School District and the impact of the policies on the four strategic perspectives.

• Goal Area – Budget

Provide competitive compensation for all employee groups.

Prioritize budget allocation to ensure guaranteed and viable instructional resources, as well as professional development to support student success.

Develop a three-year plan to address facility and program utilization.

Ceja Martinez, a board member, asserted another goal category be added. She urged the board to come up with clear, quantitative goals to reach in order to count the other goals as either reached or not. 

“How else do you know if you’re successful?” she asked .

Another concern was the first budget goal, regarding competitive compensation. While the board agreed the people working in the district are a priority, board member Beverly Pingerelli said the goal was incomplete because they will have to cut funding from another part of the budget to make it happen.

“I can’t vote for these goals with it in there as that, because I need to know what we’re giving up,” said Pingerelli.

The goals will be amended and set for approval upon a later date. The PUSD governing board is set to meet again on Feb. 13.