After accepting a position as superintendent of schools in West Bloomfield last Saturday, Gerald Hill, 60, talked with Patch about the reasons for his departure from Glenview, IL.
Several years ago, because of family circumstances that would take him out-of-state, Hill said he approached the Board in anticipation of parting ways with the district.
“I had originally intended to stay through 68 [years old],” he said. “The board and I decided to instead work on a senior leadership transition, allowing us to bring a new team into the district.”
Hill announced his retirement at an Oct. 3 board meeting, and the same night, current Deputy Superintendent Michael Nicholson was appointed District’s 34’s newest superintendent, the 7th in the district’s 70-year history. He will begin July 1 at a new salary of $205,000.
District 34 has recently struggled with a structural budget deficit, making $1.8 million in cuts with more on the way. In part because of this, officials have opted not to fill the deputy superintendent position vacated by Nicholson.
Hill fully vested in Illinois pension
Hill also interviewed for positions in both Massachusetts and Minnesota but ultimately chose West Bloomfield for it’s “high performance and high community expectations similar to Glenview,” he said.
“In my situation, I’m able to take advantage of retiring from the system and moving to another state," Hill explained. "I didn't want to stop working, but I didn't expect a raise in compensation."
While West Bloomfield’s $190,000 salary will mean a pay cut from his current base salary of $270,000 with District 34, when Hill leaves Glenview, he will take with him a pension from 16 years as part of the Illinois Teacher Retirement System (he previously worked as superintendent of Community Consolidated School District 146 in Tinley Park for eight years).
According to Hill, the pension became available to him in full last June but when asked the percentage of his salary he would receive each year as part of the pension, Hill told Patch he was uncertain until paperwork was completed.
“Since there is both cap on the compensation amount used to calculate the retirement annuity, as well as a specific formula used to determine the percentage multiplier, I will not know the amount until TRS does its work,” he said. “I don't want to be misleading and give out inaccurate information.”
According to the district’s annual compensation report, Hill’s current package also includes benefits, his pension contribution, a car allowance and an $11,000 bonus.
To the Illinois taxpayers not pleased to foot the bill on Hill’s partial salary while he moves out-of-state to lead another district, Hill says he is simply working within the parameters of the pension system.
“I have no comment to that,” he said. “The teacher retirement system is established legislatively and public employees are mandated to participate.”
Hill said he looks forward to his newest role in West Bloomfield but will not soon forget his time with District 34.
“Glenview has been a great opportunity,” he said. "I’ve enjoyed every minute of it—it has been a very professionally rewarding experience."
For more on Hill’s move to Michigan and what’s in store for his new position, check out this full Q&A with West Bloomfield Patch.