In a special meeting held on April 30, the Mineral County School Board trustees met with their attorney Sean Rowe to discuss an early buyout of the contract for Chris Schultz, school superintendent.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Keith Neville answered public comment stating, “We are not paying extra to buy him out. We are paying him what he would get until June 30.”
Sean Rowe was asked by Neville to discuss the negotiation of the closed session.
“As you know, Mr. Schultz has about two months left of his contract. The gist of this buyout agreement is a one page document that says the district will pay him the compensation due under his contract. His last day of work will be Wednesday of next week [May 6], he will turn in his keys and a couple of [sic]he will continue to have health insurance and cell phone so he is available to district staff should there be any issues they need to contact him for.
The total buyout amount is $62,000. That is salary and accumulated leave.”
Board Trustee Donna Glazier asked Rowe, “How will the cellphone be returned to us?”
Rowe said, “Through the mail. We have already discussed this.”
A person in the audience asked if Walt Hackford, who had been appointed superintendent earlier in the year, will take over once Schultz is gone.
Sheryl Samson, newly appointed Board Trustee asked Rowe, “I have a question about that. If you are no longer in power, if you are powerless, why have a cellphone from our district, that he can do anything with. He has no reason to [have the phone]. He is getting $62,000. Leave the phone.”
“Are we at jeopardy for having him work until Wednesday? If you give him this [buyout] shouldn’t it be effective immediately?” Samson directed towards Rowe.
“Trying to be careful with this, this is something that has been under negotiation for a couple of weeks now, so those concerns were…ugh…you know…had any basis. Umm…here’s the deal, part of this is after that last day he is given a check. He doesn’t get the check until he turns in his keys. That is some protection.” Rowe answered.
In regards to the cell phone, Hackford told the board, “If he is keeping that phone to keep in touch with the district on current issues, I can assure you I will not be calling him and nobody on my staff will be calling him.”
Donna Glazier, Board Trustee said, “He won’t answer anyways.”
Rowe advised Glazier to “be careful, please.”
“If the board wants to approve that that provision be removed, it is the board’s pleasure. Not mine.” Rowe told the board.
“There is no teeth there. There is no reason. It doesn’t seem relevant anymore for him to have a phone.” Samson said.
Arlo Funk, former Mineral County Superintendent and County Commissioner, addressed the board, “I believe the audience would like to know all the terms of the buyout.”
Reading from the early severance agreement, Rowe told the audience, Schultz would receive the remaining salary through the end of his contract, 60 accumulated annual leave days, 40 comp days and 12 sick days and then there is taxes and PERS.
A member of the audience asked what does the board define as a comp day? “You have to be here to get a comp day.”
Neville stated that it is days he worked outside of his contract.
The audience member asked, “Days that he said he worked? Did anybody monitor those days?”
To that, Neville replied, “No.”
Explaining to the audience, Neville said that this same discussion would be happening on June 30 had Schultz decided to stay to the end of his contract.
Hope Blinco, Mineral County School District Human Resources, questioned the PERS decision as PERS does not pay out on a lump sum. Rowe told her that it was cash in lieu of PERS on the remaining days of Schultz’s contract accumulated leave.
Glazier made a motion that the board offer they buy out to Mr. Schultz in the amount of $62,208.65 and there will be no cell phone included in the package with his last day being May 6, 2015.
Schultz will be headed back to Wisconsin to fill the position of superintendent at Luck School District.