Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee

 

Minutes of the <MeetNo1>†† Meeting

of the 2013 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> September 12, 2013

 

Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> meeting of the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee was held on<Day> Thursday,<MeetMDY2> September 12, 2013, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in<Room> Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Mike Wilson, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator Mike Wilson, Co-Chair; Representative Rita Smart, Co-Chair; Senators David P. Givens, Alice Forgy Kerr, and Gerald A. Neal; Representatives Tim Couch, Joni L. Jenkins, and Mary Lou Marzian.

 

Guests: Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Marty White, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, and Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools, and Kentucky Association of School Administrators.

 

LRC Staff: Janet Stevens, Jo Carole Ellis, Ben Boggs, Ken Warlick, and Daniel Clark.

 

Approval of Minutes, June 18, 2013 Meeting

Representative Joni Jenkins moved to approve the minutes, and Senator Alice Forgy Kerr seconded the motion. The motion carried by voice vote.

 

Kentucky District Data Profiles School Year 2012

Emily Spurlock, Division Manager, Research, Office of Education Accountability (OEA), said the Kentucky District Data Profiles is presented every year to the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee (EAARS) for easy access to commonly used education data. In the beginning of the Kentucky District Data Profiles report there is a data dictionary with definitions and sources for the different variables OEA has used. The majority of the report is a two-page summary for each school district. The report has four main sections for each school district in the report that include overview and trends, staffing data, finance, and performance.

 

Kentucky School District Superintendent Employment and Contracts

Ms. Spurlock said OEAís research agenda for this year was to include a report on statutes, regulations, and local district policies relating to the employment and contracts of Kentucky school superintendents. Specifically, the study was to include a review of salaries, benefits, and other contract terms for superintendents. In order to complete this study, OEA requested and received documents from all districts, and sent out a survey to collect additional information. Ms. Spurlock said there were two major findings to the report. The first of the two major findings in the report was that even though OEA found some issues in a review of district documents that should be further reviewed by local boards and district staffs, most superintendents are receiving salary and benefits as provided in their contracts. The second finding was that comparing superintendent compensation by salary alone could be misleading. Some benefits received by superintendents add a considerable amount to the total compensation received.

 

Ms. Spurlock said superintendent requirements and responsibilities are found in multiple places in KRS Chapter 160. Superintendents are required to be certified as a superintendent, to undergo new superintendent training within one year, and to be a Kentucky resident. After assuming the position, statues state that the superintendent is to be the executive agent of the board, provide general supervisions of the schools, and may serve as secretary of the board of education. Superintendents are required to be evaluated by the board on an annual basis. The evaluation is not required to be written, but if it is written, a copy is to be made public upon request. Superintendents are also required to undergo professional development on an annual basis.

 

Ms. Spurlock said OEA compiled information on the superintendent in each district going back to 1995. The information was based on the district directory that is published every year which is considered to be an accurate source of personnel. For all superintendents between 1995 and 2013, the average stay for a superintendent in a school district was six and a half years. In 2013, about 29 percent of all superintendents were female, and since 1994, three minority superintendents have served in Kentucky. Ms. Spurlock said on average, between 1995 and the beginning of the current school year, 23 superintendent positions turned over each year, which is about 13 percent. OEA counted a turnover as one superintendent replacing another, without counting interim or acting superintendents.

 

Ms. Spurlock said the hiring of a superintendent and the approval of the contract should be done in open session, and should be reflected in the minutes. The attorney general has previously stated that while the board is permitted to go into closed session during the initial hiring of the superintendent, the board cannot go into closed session to renew the contract of a current superintendent. Any later modifications to the contract or benefits the superintendent receives should also be done in open session and reflected in the board minutes. Based on documentation reviewed, OEA feels that a written addendum to the contract, signed by both parties that clearly reflects a modification to terms, would be the best practice.

 

Ms. Spurlock said that OEA found that most superintendent contracts contain a few of the same provisions, the first being employment terms and working days. Most contracts begin on July 1 and end on June 30 and superintendents are statutorily limited to an initial term of no more than four years. Contracts also usually state the agreed-upon salary and any provisions for future raises. If the superintendent is to receive general raises given to other certified staff, the contract should clearly state that. Most contracts have provisions that deal with the benefits that are to be provided. Benefits might include various insurance coverage, travel and reimbursement, retirement benefits, and leave days. Also, most contracts contain provisions stating the duties and expectations of the superintendent. There were many contracts that contained other common provisions along with contracts that contained provisions that are not permitted.

 

Ms. Spurlock said OEA staff compared the superintendent contract in place during fiscal year 2012 with Munis reports generated by the district that detailed superintendent pay records. Overall, OEA found that on average, a superintendentís annual salary was about $120,000 and benefits averaged $8,000. OEA considered salary to be the contract salary as well as additional pay for things like unused vacation days or payment for additional job duties. In Kentucky, the range of salary for superintendents was from about $74,000 to $276,000. Sometimes, comparisons of salary alone can be incomplete. Many superintendents receive additional benefits to which a monetary value can be assigned. These include things like reimbursement for the superintendentsí contributions into the Kentuckyís Teacher retirement system, other benefits such as deferred compensation or annuity plans, insurance benefits, or other monetary benefits such as Medicare reimbursement or housing allowances.

 

Ms. Spurlock said the payment of insurance benefits is a common benefit provided. In 2012, 73 superintendents had their portion of premiums for health insurance paid by the district with the average amount paid being about $4,800. In the same year, 40 superintendents received dental insurance averaging over $700, and 20 superintendents received vision insurance at just over $200. Thirty-nine superintendents received life insurance, with an average premium payment of about $1,500 and 15 superintendents received disability insurance, averaging about $2,700.

 

Ms. Spurlock said retirement benefits were another common form of benefit. Thirty-nine superintendents received reimbursement of their contributions into the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, averaging about $12,500, and 15 superintendents received payments into a deferred compensation or annuity plan, averaging almost $15,000. Another benefit is the payment of tuition or other fees related to furthering the superintendentsí education. Six superintendents received the payment or reimbursement of tuition or fees, averaging over $13,000. One hundred one superintendents had at least one additional monetary benefit included in their compensation. The average dollar amount of additional benefits was almost $13,000. Fifty-eight superintendents did not have any additional monetary benefits, and so in those cases, the total compensation was the same as the salary.

 

Ms. Spurlock said all but nine superintendents indicated on OEAís survey that they received some form of technology benefit, with the most common benefits being smart phones, tablet computers, and laptop computers. Some superintendents are provided devices and services directly from the district, while others are provided an allowance every month for technology needs. Also, most superintendents receive some form of transportation benefits, such as reimbursement of actual expenses, access to a district vehicle, a monetary vehicle allowance, or access to district credit cards or gas tanks.

 

Ms Spurlock said a final nonmonetary benefit is leave days. A full work year is usually 260 days and superintendents with a 240 day contract have 20 non-contract days built into their year. In addition, some superintendents receive paid leave days such as sick days, vacation days, or personal days. Statute allows no less than 10 days of sick leave, and most superintendents receive either 10 or 12 days. More than half of superintendents receive vacation days, with 20 days being the most common number of days provided. In some contracts, the provision reads that the superintendent is to receive the same number of leave days as what is provided to other 12 month district employees.

 

Ms. Spurlock said some of the recommendations in the report were very specific, but three of the recommendations were very broad in nature and sought to address some of the issues noted by OEA in the report. The first is that the hiring of the superintendent, approval of the contract, and any amendment to the contract, terms, salary, or benefits should be adopted in an open session reflected in the minutes. The second is a recommendation that the employment contract should be clearly written. Terms should be specifically stated, and care should be taken to avoid vague or conflicting provisions. The final broad recommendation is that the board should annually review the salary and benefits paid to or for the superintendent and compare them to the contract and any amendments.

 

In response to Senator Mike Wilsonís questions regarding annual evaluations and rollover provisions in superintendent contracts, Ms. Spurlock said the annual evaluations are done by the local board. The local boards are required to have a procedure that is approved by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). Ms. Spurlock said OEA found 12 districts with automatic rollover provisions and that districts should know that automatic rollovers are not permitted.

 

Senator David Givensí complemented OEA staff on the work they have done regarding the report.

 

In response to Senator David Givensí questions regarding superintendents needing to recognize wrongdoings and performance attributors, Marcia Seiler, Director, OEA, said there is recognition by the superintendent that some things need to be changed. She said OEA has had phone calls from superintendents that did not realize that some things were being overpaid and some phone calls about a benefit the superintendent should be receiving but was not. Ms. Spurlock said several contracts contained clauses relating to the raises given to the superintendent every year.

 

Senator David Givensí stated he would like for both the Chairman and KDE to be alerted that he has concerns about an agency taking authority somewhere if they do not have it.

 

In response to Representative Rita Smartís questions regarding a relationship relating to salaries and the size of districts, how minutes are done at different school board meetings and contract provisions, Ms. Spurlock said there is more variation in the size of districts than there is in superintendentsí salaries, but generally superintendents in larger districts have larger salaries. Ms. Seiler said the board minutes should be formal and documented. Ms. Spurlock said there were a few contracts that contained provisions requiring pay-back clauses if the superintendent decided to leave.

 

In response to Representative Mary Lou Marzianís question regarding minority superintendents, Ms. Spurlock said there is one minority superintendent as of right now in Covington, Kentucky (Covington Independent Schools). She said KDE has a program, the Minority Superintendent Intern Program, for minorities who are interested in becoming superintendents. There have been nine participants in the Minority Superintendent Intern Program since it began.

 

In response to Senator Gerald Nealís questions regarding evaluations or studies OEA has done relating to minority representation, Ms. Seiler said OEA has yet to do a study on that topic but will be handing a memo out to members of the committee for recommendation of study topics for 2014.

 

Senator Gerald Neal recommended to Chairman Mike Wilson that the entire system, including evaluation of superintendents and minorities as superintendents, be a study topic for 2014.

 

In response to Senator Alice Forgy Kerrís question regarding how many African Americans and woman have applied for superintendent vacancies, Ms. Spurlock said OEA was not aware if that was a data point being collected.

 

In response to Representative Derrick Grahamís questions regarding why OEA is only giving an evaluation of 155 school districts policies instead of 173 school districts and the policy process and evaluation services offered by with the Kentucky School Board Association (KSBA), Ms. Seiler said OEA did a survey and asked for documents to be submitted to them. There were 18 school districts that did not respond. Shannon Stiglitz, Director of Government Relations, KSBA, said KSBA helps school boards draft policies to make sure they are in compliance with state law, federal law, and KDE regulations. Ms. Stiglitz said KSBA currently does offer superintendent evaluation training.

 

Approval of Office of Education Accountability Study Reports

Upon motion from Representative Mary Lou Marzian, seconded by Representative Rita Smart, the Kentucky District Data Profiles School Year 2012 report was approved by voice vote.

 

Upon motion from Senator Alice Forgy Kerr, seconded by Representative Mary Lou Marzian, the Kentucky School District Superintendent Employment and Contracts report was approved by voice vote.

 

With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 10:55 a.m.