School Board set to vote on contract Tuesday
District 194 School Board members will vote on a proposed three-year employment contract for incoming Superintendent Michael Baumann at its May 23 meeting.
Baumann’s draft contract waives health coverage benefits since he already receives those benefits as a retired military veteran.
The proposed contract also eliminates key benefit components in the current contract: superintendent performance pay, cellphone and car mileage expenses.
Baumann’s proposed starting salary is $198,000 and includes 1 percent annual increases for the next three years; his expected start date is July 1.
Advertisements for the superintendent position indicated the salary was $195,000 annually,
He currently earns $149,312 as District 194 director of business services.
Board Members Judy Keliher and Bob Erickson negotiated the draft contract with Baumann, and Keliher said Baumann proposed the 1 percent annual salary increase.
“He didn’t want to be getting an increase any more than what the lowest increase would be in the district,” Keliher said.
Baumann’s proposed contract also removes two personal days from the current superintendent benefits package but adds three days of bereavement leave. It continues the current contract benefits of 30 vacation days, 15 of sick leave and 11 paid holidays.
His total proposed compensation package averages $224,639 over the next three years. Travel reimbursement is yet to be determined.
The cost of Superintendent Lisa Snyder’s current three-year contract averages $243,108. During that period, the district spent $47,034 for health insurance coverage for the superintendent.
Mileage and cellphone expenses the district paid for the superintendent have totaled about $10,000 since 2015, and travel expenses have been over $17,000 over that same time period.
Keliher said Baumann’s contract provisions were designed for him, but noted many people perceive the superintendent contract provisions as setting the stage for other negotiations, particularly regarding performance pay and salary increases.
“The contracts with the superintendent kind of reflects what we’re doing as a district at the time,” Keliher said.
She said the School Board will meet with Baumann to discuss his goals and board goals as they craft a course forward.
“We’ll be looking system-wide to understand again how it all aligns into our strategic plan,” Keliher said.
Under the draft contract provisions, the district will also contribute $17,000 to Baumann’s tax-sheltered annuity retirement fund.
Erickson described Baumann’s draft contract as a “hybrid.”
“It’s not your traditional superintendent contract,” Erickson said. “I think that’s in large measure driven by his philosophical perspective on how the superintendent, being the chief executive officer, should represent themselves in the context of all other employee groups within the district.”
Keliher said Baumann is the right superintendent for this district and this school board at this time.
“I’m really excited,” Keliher said. “His professionalism, his fairness through this process, it was wonderful to work with him.”
Erickson agreed, indicating Baumann’s actions reflect his understanding of the district’s situation.
“Nobody knows the district’s finances better than Michael Baumann, and in that context I think he’s sending a strong signal that he wants to be respectful of the district’s limited resources,” Erickson said.
The proposed superintendent contract continues to reflect changes made in the superintendent employment agreements when Snyder was hired in 2012.
Her contract was the first in the district to eliminate the “golden parachute” retirement payouts after her predecessor, former District 194 Superintendent Gary Amoroso, left the district in 2011 with a $361,572 payout while the district was struggling with significant budget cuts.
School Board members briefly reviewed Baumann’s proposed contract at its May 16 work session before adjourning into closed session to discuss Snyder’s performance pay, details of which will be made public at a later date.
Snyder resigned in November and her last day is June 30.