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Newport-Mesa schools superintendent gets $34,450 bonus for ‘exceptional’ performance

Newport-Mesa schools superintendent gets $34,450 bonus for ‘exceptional’ performance
Supt. Fred Navarro's “exceptional” performance rating for the 2016-17 school year won him a merit bonus from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District board of trustees. (File Photo)

Newport-Mesa Unified School District Supt. Fred Navarro will receive a bonus of $34,450 for his performance in the 2016-17 school year, for which he was rated “exceptional” by the board of trustees.

The board unanimously approved the merit bonus Monday night. The supplemental pay will go to a tax-sheltered annuity selected by the superintendent.

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A tax-sheltered annuity, also known as a 403(b) account, is similar to a 401(k) in that it permits some of an employee’s income to be placed in an account for later use. The deferred income is generally not subject to federal or state income tax until it is distributed, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The IRS also allows employees to put money in the accounts individually.

Each school board member typically completes a superintendent evaluation at the end of each academic year, said board member Karen Yelsey. Trustees then get together and rate the superintendent as a group.

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Navarro’s performance is based on nine standards of governance: vision, mission and beliefs; work and school culture; leadership and personal integrity; communication and advocacy; community relations; fiscal and facilities; human resources and annual goals and priorities.

Based on the criteria, he did a “great job” and the trustees appreciate his commitment, Yelsey said.

Navarro, who took the helm at Newport-Mesa in 2012, also completes a self-evaluation, but it is not available to the public under state law.

In a one-sentence statement Wednesday, Navarro said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to work here at Newport-Mesa.”

Merit pay is based on whether the superintendent receives a rating of “exceptional,” “proficient” or “standard.”

Navarro is receiving the maximum amount he’s eligible for in a year because he received the “exceptional” rating.

The merit pay is in addition to salary increases the board approved last month for top district administrators, including the superintendent.

Navarro’s salary will rise 2.5% to $282,844 for the 2017-18 school year and to $289,915 in 2018-19, according to the district.

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