Higher education

Regents erred in special schools superintendent pay

Board will consider upping pay raise, incentive next week

A Board of Regents meeting at the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
A Board of Regents meeting at the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

The Board of Regents next week will consider correcting an error in the salary for its special schools superintendent and increasing his annual raise and performance incentive for the current budget year — just months after setting it.

Steven Gettel, superintendent of the Iowa School for the Deaf and Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, on Aug. 5, 2015 received a 3 percent bump to his $180,000 salary — bringing it to $185,400. He, at that time, also was awarded a $20,000 performance incentive resulting from his 2015 evaluation, and the Board of Regents created a new performance incentive of $20,000 to be paid after his 2016 evaluation.

Weeks later, on Aug. 25, 2015, Gettel requested there be no increase to his base pay for the 2016 budget year — keeping his salary at $180,000, according to regents documents made public this week.

In July 2016, when the board reviewed annual salaries of their institutional heads for new year, the board approved a 2.5 percent raise for Gettel in the 2017 budget year and “incorrectly” stated that would take his pay from $185,400 to $190,035.

The board at that time also agreed to give Gettel $7,500 of the possible $20,000 performance incentive for the 2016 budget year.

When staff realized the error in Gettel’s base pay, they decided to continue paying him at the $180,000 level until the board could take corrective action, according to board spokesman Josh Lehman. The board next week will reconsider Gettel’s salary for the 2017.

This time, just three months after deciding on a 2.5 percent pay raise for Gettel in 2017 and a $7,500 incentive payout for 2016, the board will consider a 5 percent pay raise for 2017 and a $15,000 payout for 2016.

If approved, the pay raise will bring Gettel’s salary to $189,000.


The board also will consider establishing a new performance incentive that will pay out $15,500 after his 2017 evaluation.

The amendments, if approved, will be retroactively effective to July — meaning Gettel should receive some back pay at the $189,000 level rather than the $180,000 level.

Gettel was hired in 2014 to serve as superintendent of the special schools, which serve students both on the Iowa School for the Deaf campus in Council Bluffs and in school districts across the state.

In Fall 2016, the total number of students served on the Council Bluffs campus was 104 — five fewer than last year.

Although the Iowa Educational Services for Blind and Visually Impaired hasn’t served students on the Vinton campus since fall 2011, it served 609 students statewide in fall 2016 — an increase of 33 students from last year.


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