SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Superintendent's Contract
By Russell Thomas


September 26, 2006

This letter reflects my own personal opinions and is not intended to represent the Board or the Board's collective opinion.

If anyone had been paying too much attention they would realize that the Superintendent's yearly evaluation and contract did not suddenly "appear" on an agenda just a few days before a school board election. In fact, Mr. Martin's evaulation has been discussed at each of our meetings since June.

Board policy states that the Superintendent's evaluation instrument will be handed out to Board members during our July meeting with instructions that it be brought back for discussion with the Superintendent at our first meeting in August. This discussion took place in executive session at our August 10th meeting. Our policy also states that the Superintendent will have the opportunity to respond to the Board's evaulation in writing, which he did at our next scheduled meeting on September 13th. Changes to the Superintendent's contract traditionally follow his evaluation and can include a contract extension, an increase in pay and benefits, or both.

The idea that voting on a contract before an election subverts the process ignores the evaluation process itself. Suppose the incumbents were to lose the election and three new board members were asked to vote on a Superintendent contract at our second meeting in October. What information would they use to base their vote on? New board members would not have had the opportunity to evaluate the Superintendent on his job performance, determine whether or not he had followed Board direction and implemented its policies, or met the goals the Board had set for him the prior year.

I am surprised that the same people raising this argument aren't up in arms each time a school board approves a negotiated labor agreement. In almost all cases, the agreement runs for three years and obligates future boards to pay for it, with costs often in the millions of dollars. If we had just negotiated a hard-fought three-year deal with the teachers union and it happened to come to a vote during a September meeting I can't believe that anyone would be making any deal of it at all. Where was all the hoopla on the 13th when we approved a three-year deal with the KLO?. Unfortunately, I think this is more about personality than protocal. Sorry folks, no conspiracy here. Just seven public servants trying to follow the policy and protocal you all seem to be so passionate about.

Russell Thomas
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: "School Board President & Ketchikan resident"



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Send A Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor at

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska