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New vote approves end to Sanders’ current pact

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 had to vote on a new contract for CEO Tony Sanders a second time at its meeting on Monday, March 18.
  The board approved via a 6-1 vote, board member Jeanette Ward voting no, at its March 4 meeting but did not vote on a measure to terminate Sanders’ current contract which still had over a year remaining as it was set to end on June 30, 2020.
  The March 18 vote terminates that contract on June 30 of this year and approves the new five-year contract running from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2024. It was a 5-1 vote as Ward again voted no and board member John Devereux was absent.
  Donna Smith, the board’s president, said: “Prior to the (March 4) vote… I should have read a resolution to the record in order to terminate the current multi-year, performance-based employment contract.”
  The contract includes a 3 percent increase in salary with an over $7,000 raise in base pay to $241,679.
  Ward opposed the contract based on its length. She said on March 4 that she “was ok for the contract to go to 2022, which I believe is when the state law ends allowing us to have a CEO,” but she “just didn’t feel we should tie the hands of future boards all the way to 2024.”
  Sanders, who does not hold the necessary certifications from the state to be a superintendent, is able to be the district’s CEO because of a state law that went into effect in 2017 that allowed U-46 alone to be exempt from state law with regards to superintendent requirements. U-46 paid up to $70,000 a year prior to that for a part-time interim superintendent to sign documents after Sanders was promoted to CEO in 2014.
  Along with benefits like health insurance and pension contributions, Sanders will be reimbursed for any coursework taken to achieve his superintendent’s certification.
  “Should Mr. Sanders not achieve his superintendent endorsement within the timeframe established by law, the contract terminates and Mr. Sanders will reimburse the Board the cost of tuition,” Smith said. “Further, if Mr. Sanders leaves voluntarily during the contract, the tuition cost will be repaid.”
  Smith said that “once certified,” the district will contribute 9.89 percent of Sanders’ pension into the Teachers Retirement System rather than 14.5 percent currently into the Municipal Retirement System which she said will reduce spending by $11,000 annually.
  The contract includes “performance goals that are very clear with outcomes required annually,” Smith said.
  There are 13 goals in the contract that include year-to-year targets for identifying and implementing plans and reporting results, but no goals are set with regards to achieving any target results.
  The board also approved 6-0 an itemized bills list totaling $4.9 million.




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