District 833 School Board makes contract offer to new superintendentA contract offer for the incoming District 833 schools chief includes a larger salary and lacks terms that were at the center of controversy surrounding Superintendent Mark Porter’s dismissal.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
A contract offer for the incoming District 833 schools chief includes a larger salary and lacks terms that were at the center of controversy surrounding Superintendent Mark Porter’s dismissal.
The South Washington County School Board offerred Keith Jacobus a superintendent salary of $178,000 a year with modest annual raises and other terms that are standard in the field, the board’s attorney said.
Board members unanimously voted to approve the contract offer during a meeting Thursday, May 23.
The board’s attorney, Michael Waldspurger, said he anticipated that Jacobus would approve of the final package. Jacobus was not at the board meeting, but had agreed to all terms contingent on approval of the salary figure.
“We had very cordial and amicable negotiations,” Waldspurger said.
The contract would:
-- pay Jacobus $178,000 in his first year
-- include guaranteed annual 2.25-percent salary increases. Jacobus can waive an increase.
-- allows for 25 days of vacation annually, in addition to 15 days of sick leave and three days each of bereavement pay and family illness.
-- provides a $500 monthly vehicle allowance. Waldspurger said that is common and that the alternative would be to pay monthly mileage reimbursement, which often costs more.
-- ends after three years. The School Board would have to vote to renew after that term.
-- does not offer any incentive pay.
-- does not include a severance payment provision or payment of unused sick time, both provisions in Porter’s contract
-- offers the same insurance package given other school administrators.
The new contract offer is streamlined compared to Porter’s contract and more closely resembles the Minnesota School Boards Association’s model contract, Waldspurger said.
School Board Chairwoman Leslee Boyd said the removal of some contract language was done in part at the board’s request and because it no longer is standard. For instance, the pending agreement does not set out a timeline for notice to be given if the contract is not going to be renewed.
That notice, and contract terms related to an annual performance review, was at the center of a disagreement between Porter and the board when his contract was not renewed by the board in December.
“It just gave school boards difficulty,” Waldspurger said of the notice requirements.
In the negotiations Jacobus asked for a salary above $178,000 but also said he expected compensation comparable to what’s offered in other districts, Waldspurger said.
If he accepts the agreement, Jacobus’ base salary will be about $18,000 more than Porter earned. Boyd said a salary of $178,000 puts Jacobus in line with superintendents in other similar districts.
Boyd said the disparity between Porter’s deal and the offer to Jacobus is partly due to an “uncharacteristically low” salary given Porter. He succeeded a superintendent who was hired from within the district and another who came out of retirement to serve on an interim basis. Also, Boyd said, Porter declined a salary increase during his tenure.
Waldspurger highlighted terms of the new contract at the board meeting but said a copy of the agreement is not public until Jacobus signs it.
If Jacobus accepts, he’ll leave his job as assistant superintendent at Osseo Area Public Schools and start in District 833 on July 1. He is paid $150,000 in Osseo, Boyd said.