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Monday, October 2, 2023
Oct. 2, 2023

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Evergreen schools superintendent’s new salary: $305,884

Evergreen Public Schools’ Merlino has been doubling as CFO

By , Columbian staff writer

The Evergreen Public Schools board on Tuesday approved a raise for Superintendent Mike Merlino that brings his annual salary to $305,884 during the 2021-22 school year.

Merlino’s salary will fall to $269,038 once he’s completed a transition away from performing duties as both the district’s superintendent and chief financial officer, under a three-year contract through 2024.

Since being appointed EPS’s superintendent in April 2019, Merlino has maintained both superintendent and CFO duties, which included separate salaries.

A review published May 28, however, by the Washington Association of School Administrators recommended a host of changes to improve the climate and culture within the district’s central district office. One of those recommendations includes Merlino solely concentrating on superintendent duties.

He made a base salary of $259,940 as superintendent and $35,600 as CFO in 2020-21, for a total of $295,540.

The district said last week that Merlino has appointed Jennifer Jacobson, the district’s director of fiscal services, as its new chief financial officer starting Sept. 1. Merlino will maintain an extra compensation of $36,846 — a 3.5 percent increase from his CFO pay last school year — through June 30, 2022, to work alongside Jacobson during the yearlong CFO transition process.

Once the transition is complete, Merlino’s base salary drops to his now-increased superintendent’s pay of $269,038. That figure doesn’t include his additional 2 percent of annual compensation awarded for “longevity and retention” in the district.

Merlino may also choose to have the amount equal to 13 percent of his base salary distributed into an annuity or taken as a salary, as awarded in previous contracts. If added to his base contract as salary, it would raise his annual compensation to $304,012.

The new contract also requires Merlino to enroll in a superintendent’s certification program by Sept. 1. The district confirmed to The Columbian last week that he’s enrolled through a program at Washington State University. Additionally, Merlino may submit proof of program expenses for reimbursement by the district following each completed semester.

Merlino’s contract also says the superintendent must attend professional development provided by the authors of “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” — a piece of reading recommended for senior leadership by the Washington Association of School Administrators review.