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Posted on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

New Dexter schools top official could earn $39K more than former superintendent

By Danielle Arndt

The Dexter Community Schools Board of Education late last month approved a three-year contract with its new superintendent that could allow him to earn up to $169,000. That's a $39,000 pay bump from former Superintendent Mary Marshall's salary.


Christopher Timmis

Courtesy photo

Marshall left Dexter schools in December to take a position as superintendent of Pentwater Public Schools on the west side of the state. Since then, Dexter has been engaged in a search to find a new superintendent.

The board voted on June 12 to hire Christopher Timmis, the superintendent of Adrian Public Schools, as the district's next leader. Timmis will start with Dexter schools on Aug. 19.

School board President Larry Cobler told that Timmis' contract was ratified unanimously by the board during a special meeting on June 28.

Timmis' base pay was set at $140,000. Marshall's base salary was $130,000.

Cobler said among the reasons for the increase was that Marshall had no previous experience as superintendent prior to being hired, whereas Timmis has been the superintendent of Adrian for five years.

In addition, Timmis will receive an extra $10,000 on top of his base pay for each fiscal year of his contract for an "education stipend" in recognition of his doctoral degree.

Cobler said Marshall did not have a doctoral degree. The board felt it was appropriate to reward Timmis for having his doctorate, similar to how teachers with a master's and doctoral degrees receive more pay than their bachelor's degree-holding colleagues.

Lastly, the Board of Education approved three opportunities for Timmis to earn performance-based incentives. The contract allows Timmis to receive a $3,000 bonus for accomplishing each of the following goals:

  • Completion and board adoption of a district strategic plan.
  • Creation of an action plan designed to improve district mathematics scores.
  • Creation of an action plan designed to generate additional revenue for the district.

Cobler said the board will create new goals with incentives attached each year, giving Timmis the opportunity to earn additional pay. Those are the goals for the 2013-14 academic year, Cobler said.

Cobler described Timmis' benefits and insurance package as being the same as other district administrators. He said there are no benefits tied to cellphone coverage or travel, outside of the typical mileage reimbursements.

According to the district's most recent salary and compensation report, in addition to a $130,000 base salary, Marshall received $14,295 in health care coverage, $32,500 in pension costs and $7,000 in supplemental pay. At Adrian, Timmis earned a salary of $115,000 in 2011, along with a travel stipend of $6,000, a pension of $28,367 and $11,138.04 in health care coverage.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Shawn Letwin

Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

@IM4MI I believe I was just asking for factual data. Seriously.

Shawn Letwin

Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

@MI4ME...". I don't have the numbers, but as I recall, it was considerable." and then there was..."and it seems the budgets have relentlessly been projected deficit spending but at the end of the year come up to the good." Contesting statements with "considerable" and "good" is admirable but not necessarily a robust rebuking of the factual data that has been posted to show otherwise. Comments that relate back to hard numbers in district documents or timeline in video interview hold much more credibility. So, MI4ME, indulge us with the specific documents/date posted in the board packets that show the budget "good" at the end of the year. The district posts monthly financial statements and narratives and I can only find deficit spending and deficit budgets that are approved...and as for Timmis bringing in "considerable" revenue...the interview is online (Google "schoolboardonline") and so please let us know where specifically by time in the interview that he states the specific numbers that you find consider "considerable" yet cannot recall.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 3:15 a.m.

Seriously? You expect any kind of polite reply to this?

Shawn Letwin

Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

...and if he doesn't bring in more money...then what... Shirk was paid more and more money did not come in...Glass was paid a whole lot more and more money did not come in...Marshall was paid more and more money did not come in...but will Timmis who is paid more and doesn't bring in more, make less? Timmis found "low hanging fruit" to create partnerships that brought in new money. The seed money for the IB program was just that...seed money. Dexter has already tapped local resources (ABCD, Ed. Foundation of Dexter, etc.) to achieve years ago what Adrian is just now doing. The grand experiment by the board to make athletics self-funding was an absolute failure. And to pay him bonus money for coming up with a plan as the only achievable metric...which by another measure are plans that should be considered part of his expected! But with the board holding special meetings this past June to approve $50K in uniforms after closing the year with a $2M deficit, or approving $90K in band uniforms at the end of the year which also had over $1M in deficit spending...I guess it is just chump change to throw more money at Timmis before he accomplishes anything...but then again, it isn't someone's money...just taxpayers money...sheesh! Adrian was paying him about $40K less to essentially do the same job...but Dexter raises the pay scale by almost 50% just for being Dexter...The Dexter Difference.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 10:59 p.m.

I've read many of your comments and often don't agree, but find your thoughts regarding the purported "bonuses" to be spot on. It is pretty ridiculous that the DBOE believes that the taxpayers of DCS are so stupid that they would buy into their efforts to cloak an exorbitant salary in the form of "performance bonuses." If these are the kinds of bonuses that the Superintendent will receive, the teachers in the District should receive bonuses for showing up, learning their students' names, and taking attendance each day.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

If Dr. Timms brings in more money to the district than this raise, which I suspect he will, then its worth every nickle. One of the most attractive things about his tenure in Adrian was the amount of financial support he gained from private sources which allowed them to create so many more programs for kids to keep busy in sports and activities, without cost. Some people are over paid, but I don't think you can make that determination until after he has a chance to perform..


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

During his interview he spoke about private funding for after school programs that allowed kids to access school facilities regularly. I don't have the numbers, but as I recall, it was considerable.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

I agree that Dr. Timmis should be provided the opportunity to earn the salary that he fairly negotiated with the BOE. However, I am familiar with Dr. Timmis' tenure in Adrian, and am unaware of his bringing in any private funding to further support APS programs and services. The District received a substantial amount of public funds due to their status as an underperforming school (high school). Can you elaborate on the private funding that he is responsible for? Thank you!

Shawn Letwin

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

@rcastentman- With an approved budget for 2013-2014 that had expenses over revenue (deficit spending), the money to cover the raise (and other expenses that exceeded expected revenue) was made up by taking monies from the designated reserves. Those designated reserves (rainy day found forecasted to be zero $ in 2015) are also pegged to fund the new assistant superintendent position for the upcoming year that is budgeted to cost $150K.


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Shawn, I checked into this and it seems the budgets have relentlessly been projected deficit spending but at the end of the year come up to the good.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

$39K would go a long way to covering the cost of a first year teacher. With school budgets so tight these days, I would wager Dexter had to make a cut somewhere to afford the superintendent this extra money. In other districts, some superintendents are taking pay freezes. In some districts, superintendents are taking pay cuts to "share the pain" as they outsource custodians, bus drivers, kitchen staff, etc. and cut wages to teachers and others. It will be interesting to see how the board members react when asked exactly how this action results in putting more dollars in the classroom.

Joe Kidd

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

This is unbelievable. I will not approve any vote for any taxes for the school system and no incumbent will get my vote. A great example of how dangerous it is when people who are incompetent get elected to local boards.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

Unfortunately, the same holds true for us with the AA BOE?


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Its so unfortunate this information is not more complete. The tax payers need to know about the "other" hidden salary benefits that arent being listed here. Spend some time and FOIA this new contract and the CFO contract as well. See how they are making more money and benefits while other employee groups were just cut in pay, some without even being told they were being cut in pay or insurances. We are all on board with hiring quality people but it really sets a poor example when the leader gets significant benefits/money that no one else gets while everyone else is being cut. The board is trying to hide the real details folks. Do a little research, it will enlighten you as to what is really going on. Whats the relation? Every district in the state that hired a superintendent did so through a public process and interviewed several candidates. Why did Dexter hand pick only one and then pay him and benefit him beyond belief? Hey, its ok.... pay to play athletics - someone has to pay for all his benefits.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Adrian is one of the worst performing schools last time I checked which was about 3 years ago. Unless they've really made significant progress I find it interesting that Dexter has chosen Timmis.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:09 a.m.

Apparently they have made real progress, which was one of the selling points for Dr. Timmis.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

He comes with very high reviews from his current district. Also, information from another news source says that he is house-hunting in the district and looking to move his family here. Assuming that materializes, that means "long-term investment" in the district to me, and that's what we need. The district needed an outside candidate this time around. As a current taxpayer, and parent of two Dexter graduates, I trust the Board's decisions. You get what you pay for and Dexter is in far better shape financially than most other districts. Now it is up to Mr. Timmis to prove he's worth the investment.

Shawn Letwin

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 2:04 a.m.

...and since when should someone get a bonus for just doing their job? 1-Completion and board adoption of a district strategic plan. 2-Creation of an action plan designed to improve district mathematics scores. 3-Creation of an action plan designed to generate additional revenue for the district. Isn't the extra degree and real superintendent experiences that Timmis brings to the "classroom" already justified in the higher pay than Marshall? Not to mention the district will be paying almost $15K for insurance, putting $32,500 towards his pension and then Timmis is getting another $7,000 in supplemental pay. And if he doesn't meet those goals (which should be expected by any district), he keeps his job. Taking a close look at the bonus goals...they only require a plan and not a realized outcome. Paying another $30K for someone to do their job. Wow! With expectations like that for those that run the district, what does that translate into on what is expected of the students..."ok lil Johnny, we will give you extra credit because had a plan to do well in need to do extra work to get extra deserve extra cause you had a plan... The Dexter Difference!


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 9:06 a.m.

BOE's do this because its not their money.

Shawn Letwin

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 11:11 p.m.

Almost 10 years ago, the salary for the superintendent at Dexter was around $105,000. Since that time the core group of board members who were around back then and continue around now have seen fit to increase the salary by 60% as they hired for this position several times over the last ten years. This same group of trustees have spent over a million dollars for a duplicate IB program that serves around 30 students This same group of trustees started with a budget deficit last year of around $1M and ended the year with a budget deficit of over $2M twelve months later. This same group of trustees budgeted another year of deficit spending for this year by continuing to drain the reserves. This same group of trustees have budgeted for a new assistant superintendent in a district that has lost dozens of students year after year for the last several years. This same group of trustees have a best case scenario of only losing 20 students per year forward. This same group of trustees have budget projections that show the district insolvent by 2015. The Dexter Difference.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 9:09 a.m.

Their track record is pretty bad. Why hasn't the community tried to recall or replace the trustees? Almost as bad as the track record of the AA BOE?


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

Repubs are worried about unions and teachers instead of the salaries of Superintendents. Having multiple school districts & charter school groups with multiple high salaries for Superintendents, administrators and district administrative offices is another example of public funding waste. On top of this collasiam waste is the multiple salaries for county-wide salaries for ISD superintendents, administrators and their buildings. It is past time to go to either a county-wide school district or dual county-wide district with no ISD structure and funding unless that ISD is more functional then these school districts.

Jay Thomas

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

How many times have we seen this -- offering a large and unnecessary raise? There was AAPS, U of M Hospital, the new Detroit Police Chief in bankrupt Detroit. The kids have run off with the Cookie Jar...


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

That's cute. Comparing a $10,000 increase to AAPS and bankrupt detroit. Go ahead and grind your ax, but this increase over Marshall's salary and incentive package may not be your best examples.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

No wonder he's smiling.