State education board gives commissioner 'outstanding' rating, asks for improved communications

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday
Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

Kentucky Board of Education members on Wednesday said in an annual evaluation that Education Commissioner Terry Holliday had an "outstanding performance" in 2013-14.

In a letter to Holliday dated Wednesday, board members said his accomplishments included significant gains in graduation rates and career and college readiness, communications with other educators and staff, the implementation of a teacher's evaluation system and Holliday's understanding of best practices from across the nation.

While the positives far exceeded "areas for growth," the board asked him to continue to improve communications and to continue to focus on closing the achievement gaps that hurt minority, poor and disabled students. In that area, "progress fell short of the goals," board members said in the letter.

The board asked him to direct best practices toward addressing the number of school districts with serious financial problems. Board members asked him how Kentucky's statewide achievement test results compare nationally. And members asked him to address recent concerns about the accuracy of part of the statewide tests called program reviews.

In turn, Holliday provided the board with a set of goals.

Board members also told Holliday that his annual salary of $225,000 had remained constant since he took the post in 2009 and they were mandated to increase it.

Holliday has been steadfast in his aversion to a salary increase, board members said, but they had to increase his salary by 1 percent because the General Assembly had mandated a pay increase for all other state employees in the same pay bracket and for all local school district employees.

Holliday told the Herald-Leader that the raise amounts to about $2,000 before taxes.

He said he plans to give the raise, after taxes, to the Kentucky Employees Charitable Campaign.

"I make a very good salary. I just don't think I need a pay raise," Holliday said.

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