School board, superintendent begin contract discussions

The first round of contract discussions for the recently appointed superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District focused on salary and benefits.

Sean Dusek sat down with the school board members in a work session Tuesday to discuss the pending contract. Dusek, the interim superintendent, was offered the position by the school board March 3. His new contract starts July 1.

Two sample contracts were provided to the school board as potential designs for the final contract that will be placed before the school board for approval, which will most likely take place at the April 6 regularly scheduled meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones said the determined range for compensation is between $140,000 and $165,000, the lower end being reserved for employees filling the superintendent position for the first time.

Each subsequent year has a potential $5,000 raise built into the contract, which will top out at $165,000 after five years, Jones said. The determined increase will be evaluated annually, according to the sample contract.

The salary is based on 230 contracted days of service, according to the sample contract.

The formula is determined by the school district policy, which states the lower end of the offer is the salary plus benefits of the highest paid district teacher divided by the number of net days per contract multiplied by the number of net days in the superintendent contract.

“It (superintendent) is certainly a 24-hour job whether you are on vacation or not,” said school board member Liz Downing.

School Board President Joe Arness said former superintendent Donna Peterson did not take raises while she held the position, but had more benefits including a number of bonuses.

The position could include seven holidays, a life insurance policy twice that of the annual salary and 30 working days leave, 15 of which must be taken or they will be forfeit, according to the sample document. The remaining 15 may be carried over to the following year and up to 13 personal days may be accrued, according to the contract.

If the school district chooses not to renew the superintendent’s contract he must be notified by Dec. 1 of that year; if he is not notified his contract will carrying over for one more year, according to the sample contract.

The set date is so that, if the school district needs to search for other applicants the most competitive candidates will be on the market during that time, Jones said.