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Discussion begins for superintendent contract renewal

WORTHINGTON -- The District 518 Board of Education convened for a special meeting Monday to discuss renewal of Superintendent John Landgaard's contract, which is set to expire June 30, 2012.

Superintendent contracts are renewed every three years. Areas of discussion were based on a proposal Landgaard submitted to the board.

"He's been good to come to us with a proposal," said Brad Shaffer, school board chair. "We need to go back to him about where we're at, and then we can work from there."

The board compared the proposal with superintendent contract packages from, primarily, school districts with similar enrollment numbers.

"We try to avoid anything in the Cities because of the (difference in) cost of living," Shaffer explained. "We try to keep it outstate and find some kind of similarity."

Salary and

other benefits

If his proposal is approved, Landgaard will receive incremental increases for his total contract package that will be implemented over three years -- 2.1 percent for 2012-2013; 2.44 percent for 2013-2014, and 3.04 percent for 2014-1015. The package is inclusive of salary, fringe benefits, social security and health care insurance, among other benefits.

"I would like to see us discuss with John about keeping the base salary with a small increase, but tie anything else to a performance bonus," board member Linden Olson said. "Maybe (we could) include a performance clause with a sliding scale."

Potential indicators for a performance bonus, Olson said, could include improved graduation rates, reductions in achievement gaps -- especially where significant gaps among student groups exist -- and increases in proficiency scores for math and reading state assessments. He added that with the new state mandate of teacher evaluations, it would be "best to start from the top."

Fellow board member Lori Dudley explained that such an implementation would need to be done across the board, including principals and teachers.

"The teachers are the trenches that are going to make the biggest difference on achievement, growth and graduation rates," she said.

Shaffer said that the proposed percentage increase is "very close to what the teachers got."

"From a percentage standpoint, it's not like it's completely out of line," he added. "The issue is how far we go. I certainly want to be fair given the years of service and the job that has been done. The uniqueness of our district comes to play, as well."

Landgaard is currently in his ninth year as superintendent for District 518.

Director of Management Services for District 518 David Skog said the most recent increase in teachers' employment package was about 2.86 percent.

Vacation and sick days

While discussing payouts for unused vacation days and sick days, the board was more favorable on a 260-day denominator -- the number of days a year which would be used to calculate the daily rate for pay-outs, as the basis for negotiation.

The current contract allows 10 days of unused vacation to be reimbursed. 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).

Shaffer clarified that the denominator is used solely to calculate pay-out rates, and does not determine the number of working days. As of Monday's meeting, no final decisions had been made.