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By LuAnn Schindler

Administrative contract renewal dates not on same staffing timeline


November 28, 2019

Timing of administrative contract renewal was a major discussion point during a joint board meeting, Nov. 20, in Ewing.

Following discussion about certificated staffing, Orchard educator Kristin Johnston asked if the staffing timeline is applicable to administrative staff.

“As far as when the principal and administration decide staffing who stays or goes, is that going to be the new administration deciding or the current administration,” she asked.

The same approach will apply to administration and decisions will need to be made about who will fill what role. Retirements may affect decisions.

“Contracts roll over on April 15. Most administrators do have a provision (in their contract) that rolls over early,” KSB lawyer Steve Williams said.

Superintendent Dale Martin’s contract rolls over in January.

Orchard board member DeAnna Clifton asked who will determine if four administrators are necessary once the building project is completed.

The procedure will be the same as with certificated and non-certificated staff, according to Williams.

“If there’s not a retirement, if there’s not someone finding another job, then you apply the RIF policy for administrators as well,” he said.

Could an administrator be plugged into a teaching position, if the RIF policy is used?

Principals gain tenure, as opposed to superintendents, who are always probationary.

“Generally, we try not to RIF a principal into a teaching position, and the reason being, the pay … Is it possible? Could we reduce a principal and offer them a teaching position? Absolutely,” Williams said.

“But they’d have to go on the teacher pay scale,” Amy Thiele replied. Williams agreed.

In the past, the Unified district has offered the superintendent contract in January and principal contracts in February. Teaching contracts are due March 16. Ewing administrative contracts are offered a few months ahead of teacher contracts, according to Ewing Superintendent Ted Hillman.

Amy Thiele asked who issues the superintendent contract for the 2020-2021 school year.

“You have two superintendents at this point in time. Those (contracts) would both roll over.

“Unless one of us quits,” Hillman said, drawing a chuckle from the crowd.

Martin replied, “Or both.”

More laughter.

Thiele asked for an explanation of how the superintendent contract rolls over from the Unified district.

“It’s the same statute that applies to teachers,” Williams said.

Steven Thiele asked how a decision is made if the contract rolls over to Summerland or Verdigre.

“That would be discussion we would have. Typically, the contract would roll into the new district,” Williams said. “The superintendents’ contracts are the ones that do not fit perfectly in the statutes. The Unified district is not part of the reorganization. On the other hand, the superintendent’s contract rolls over.”

Verdigre Public Schools will need a superintendent once the Unified district ends.

Williams said, “My impression from what I’ve seen publicly and what I’ve heard, they believe they do not have a superintendent.

Martin confirmed he told Verdigre’s board of education he was not interested in serving as Verdigre’s superintendent for the 2020-2021 school year.

“If Dale is not wanted as the new superintendent at Summerland, we need to have that discussion,” Williams said.

Orchard board member Terri Hergert asked for clarification that it is the Unified district’s responsibility to offer a contract to Martin, since he is hired by the Unified board.

“My contract goes through July 1, so as my contract reads, I would still be acting Unified superintendent,” Martin said.

If the contract would not roll over, “You’re living with someone you divorced for about six months,” Williams said. “If Martin would be given a non-renewal notice, either a hearing is held or it’s resolved, his contract comes to an end and he’s a free agent. On July 1, he could work for anybody he wants to contract with.”

Marty Kerkman asked where the Summerland superintendent position would be on the pay scale.

“If they (Unified board) take no action, they don’t do anything with his salary, he would have the same salary next year as he does this year,” Williams said.

Could the salary decrease?

Ewing board member Gina Koenig asked why the Unified board would renew Martin’s contract?

“If you renew his contract, what are you renewing it for? You’re not renewing it for the Unified district. It doesn’t exist. You’re just ensuring him, you are guaranteeing him he will be the Summerland Bobcat superintendent until June 2021,” Koenig said.

Amy Thiele asked if the Unified board can roll over the superintendent’s rate of pay?

“Could he agree to a lower pay,” she asked.

Williams said a superintendent’s pay cannot be lowered without their consent.

Would a change in leadership affect the construction timeline?

“It makes it tough,” Steven Thiele said.

A main point of contact makes the process smoother.

Ewing board president Mark Ramold said a superintendent search, at this point of time, is a huge delay.

Board members favored new Summerland board appointees meeting with Unified board members to discuss the contracts.


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