School board continues contract discussionWORTHINGTON — District 518 Board of Education met Wednesday morning for the second round of discussion concerning renewal of Superintendent John Landgaard’s contract which will expire June 30, 2012. Superintendent contracts are renewed every three years.
WORTHINGTON — District 518 Board of Education met Wednesday morning for the second round of discussion concerning renewal of Superintendent John Landgaard’s contract which will expire June 30, 2012. Superintendent contracts are renewed every three years.
Board members met in October to discuss a proposal Landgaard had submitted and compared it to superintendent contract packages, primarily from school districts with similar enrollment numbers. The meeting on Wednesday was to address feedback for the revised proposed contract drafted after board chairman Brad Shaffer and board member Joel Lorenz met with Landgaard.
“This is a negotiation — not a take-it-or-leave-it approach,” Shaffer said.
Vacation and sick days
As discussed during the first meeting, board members were more favorable of the 260-day denominator — to be used as the number of days a year to calculate the daily rate for pay-outs for unused vacation and sick days — instead of 235 days as proposed by Landgaard. The new denominator proposed is 245 days.
The current contract allows 10 days of unused vacation to be reimbursed. During the first meeting in October, board members were in favor of a five-day increase, as per the proposal, on vacation days allowed for reimbursement (from 10 to 15 days.)
“I wasn’t looking for a change in the daily rate,” board member Steve Schnieder said. “How does it cost out in the future to show what it is in regard to the contract now?”
“The daily rate was a compromise,” Shaffer explained. “When he retires, assuming a normal increase in pay, if he has 150 days banked, the difference in the two (denominators) will be about a $5,000.”
Several board members were not in favor of the revised provision that stated the school district would be responsible for the insurance deductible, upon voluntary separation, until the superintendent reaches the age of 65.
“While I understand there is no present intention to retire, that situation can change very rapidly, but that clause remains forever,” board member Linden Olson said.
Shaffer asked if the board members would prefer a stipulation be added in which the benefit would be effective only if Landgaard remains employed until the age of 60.
“If we include this clause in the next contract, he’s compelled to stay two contracts beyond that to get the benefit. We have that much time to accrue those costs because we have five years (worth) of cost (from age 60 to 65). If we accrue the costs annually over the next nine years, we would spread it out,” Shaffer explained about the advantage of incorporating the provision earlier instead of later. “If we include in it in the last contract, we’d have three years to accrue the five-year cost — the annual cost would be higher at that point.”
“If we have a good superintendent, which we have, why would we want to encourage him to leave at 60?” asked fellow board member, Mark Shepherd. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in any public contract.”
Board members were more inclined to the alternative method, which would be a type of health savings account that would fund the insurance premium.
“I can certainly support that because it’s easier to cost out “X” number of dollars into the package to know what our total cost is,” Schnieder said.
“That to me is a reasonable and a common benefit,” Shepherd said in agreement.
Based on Landgaard’s initial proposal, he would receive an incremental increase for his contract package, which will be implemented over three years — 2.1 percent for 2012-2013; 2.44 percent for 2013-2014, 3.04 percent for 2014-1015 — if approved. The package will include salary, fringe benefits, social security and health care insurance, among other benefits.