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EDUCATION: Vargas gets $195,000 contract 

The Rochester school board, by a vote of 6 to 1, has agreed to enter a four-year contract with Bolgen Vargas to lead the school district.

The vote was held at this evening’s school board meeting.

Vargas will be paid $195,000 annually, about a $20,000 bump from his current salary. The contract begins on July 1, 2012.

A somewhat serious Vargas said that the “current behavior and culture” of the city school district makes it impossible to raise the graduation rate, and that is why he has not made promises to increase the rate. The entire community, from students to parents and community leaders, need to impress upon city students how important it is to graduate.

Solving attendance and literacy issues are top priorities, Vargas said. And he pressed for making more time available to students for instruction.

We have to give them the time and support for learning if we’re going to expect that students will be passing more Regents exams with higher grades,” Vargas said.

Vargas also made a point of repeating that the education community needs “to stop playing politics.” It is interfering with the work of educating students, he said.

Board member Van White was the lone no vote on the superintendent’s contract, saying that he believed the selection process was flawed. And he said he has concerns about how Vargas has communicated with the board.

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