Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday gets 1% raise, wi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday gets 1% raise, will donate it to charity

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Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is getting a raise (WDRB file photo from September 2014) Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is getting a raise (WDRB file photo from September 2014)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – For the first time since being named Kentucky's education commissioner five years ago, Terry Holliday is getting a raise – but he says he will give it all back to charity.

The Kentucky Board of Education voted Wednesday to give Holliday a 1 percent raise – the same percentage mandated for all teachers this year. He makes $225,000 annually and had not previously accepted any pay raises since his arrival in 2009.

“I didn't come here because of the salary, I came here because of Senate Bill 1,” Holliday said, referring to the legislation passed by the General Assembly that called for a new system of assessment and accountability for public schools. "I don't think I need a pay raise, I make a very good salary.”

Holliday said he only agreed to the raise because it's being mandated by state law. He then said he will donate the extent of his of raise (after taxes) to the Kentucky Employees Charitable Campaign, eight charities that support over 1,100 programs and agencies in the Commonwealth.

In Holliday's evaluation approved by the state board Wednesday, it noted his “salary has remained the same amount since you began your tenure.”

“Your performance during 2013-14 continues to be outstanding,” the evaluation reads. “The five-year progress report that accompanied your self-evaluation is quite impressive and it is appropriate to celebrate and recognize how far we have come.”

The evaluation noted that Holliday has been “steadfast in (his) aversion to any mention of a salary increase.”

“However, because of your outstanding performance…we believe it is appropriate and necessary to consider a 1 percent increase in your salary,” the evaluation reads. “The board strongly supports your continued tenure as commissioner and believes you are the right person at the right time to move Kentucky education forward.”

The board then thanked Holliday for all that he has done and will “do in the future for the children of this state.”

During the meeting, Holliday provided the board with his proposed goals for the 2014-15 year, in which he outlined his plans to improve student outcomes. As commissioner, oversees the education of roughly 675,000 public schoolchildren in Kentucky.

“Kentucky is recognized by many as a leader in education progress and reform,” Holliday wrote in the action plan he wrote following an October board meeting where members verbally shared his annual evaluation. “I firmly believe that the Unbridled Learning strategic plan, if well deployed, will result in outstanding gains in student outcomes.”

Holliday signed an initial four-year contract in July 2009, which ended last year, and was given a new four-year contract that runs through July 2017.

In an in-depth interview with WDRB News in September, Holliday said “no two days are ever alike.”

“It's definitely a job that has kept me on my feet, but I really wouldn't have it any other way,” said Holliday. 

Since Holliday's arrival, the state has implemented a new assessment and accountability system and a new teacher evaluation system. Kentucky was also the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

Holliday been credited by many people for getting the state back on track in terms of reform.

“He's been out there speaking to other folks, carrying the work going on here in Kentucky and carrying the national agenda,” said former Kentucky Education Commissioner Gene Wilhoit, who now serves as the director of the National Center for Innovation in Education at the University of Kentucky.

“For Kentucky, that presence is so important,” he said. “It's critical for all the states to have spokesperson as articulate as he is and forceful as he about the need for improvement of education opportunities for all children.”

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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