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Wichita school board extends superintendent’s contract, increases financial package

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, July 8, 2013, at 8:49 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, July 9, 2013, at 12:24 a.m.

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Wichita school board members voted Monday to extend Superintendent John Allison’s contract and increase his financial package by nearly 7 percent.

“We are very comfortable and confident in our superintendent and want the community to understand our support of him,” board president Lynn Rogers said.

After a brief meeting and a 30-minute executive session, board members voted 6-0 to approve an amended contract for Allison. Board member Joy Eakins was absent.

Beginning in October, the district will contribute an additional 6.9 percent of Allison’s salary – about $16,000 a year – into the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System on his behalf.

The additional compensation is in the form of a KPERS “service credit” that Allison would receive upon retirement. It was calculated based on Allison’s previous employment with school districts in Texas and Pennsylvania, Rogers said.

Allison’s base salary of $224,910 a year will stay the same. The board’s vote Monday also extended the contract through June 2016.

“It’s nice to know that your employers have confidence in you and by their actions are supporting the direction that we’re headed and the work that we’re doing,” Allison said after the meeting.

Allison became superintendent of Wichita schools, the state’s largest district, in 2009.

“Since he has arrived in Wichita, he has not had a pay raise,” Rogers said prior to the vote. “When you compare our superintendent’s salary, particularly the base, to schools like Omaha or Tulsa or Oklahoma City, they’re very comparable, and actually he’s probably at the low or midpoint.

“One of the things we have to be very concerned about is competitiveness, long term, as a district,” Rogers added. “In the past we’ve had situations where we’ve not been competitive on our superintendent, and when you have a good superintendent, they’re very easily snagged by others.”

Allison said Monday that he would “like to continue to be in Wichita.”

“I enjoy Wichita, and my family is settled,” he said. “This has been good for us.”

In addition to his base salary, Allison receives a $750-a-month car and mileage allowance and $500 a month for “professional, civic and incidental expenses.”

If Allison remains superintendent through June 2014, he also will receive a $100,000 contribution to a tax-sheltered retirement account – $25,000 a year, retroactive to July 2010. That clause was part of his initial contract.

In February 2012, board members changed a clause in the contract that would have required Allison to earn a doctorate of education by August 2012. The contract approved Monday still says the superintendent is “encouraged to obtain” his doctorate and that the board “will consider increasing the superintendent’s base salary by an appropriate amount” if and when he completes the degree.

Rogers said the boost to Allison’s total financial package Monday is “comparable to what we’ve done with our teaching staff.”

A tentative contract agreement reached last month between the school board and the United Teachers of Wichita represents a 2.4 percent increase in total value for teachers. Last year’s contract amounted to a 4 percent increase in salary, benefits and reduced work time, officials said.

Rogers said Allison has served as both superintendent and chief operating officer – “a position that he’s not received any additional pay for” – for the past year.

Denise Wren, the district’s former chief operating officer, left the district last July. Allison said in May that he does not intend to fill the position for the next six to 12 months, in part because he hasn’t been able to find a qualified candidate who would agree to the salary proposed. Wren’s salary was $135,700 a year.

In other matters Monday, the board elected Jeff Davis as president for the 2013-14 school year. Board member Betty Arnold was elected vice president.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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