Board discusses Dukes' contract

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The contract between the School Board and schools director Roy Dukes was the other topic of discussion at a School Board work session last week.

"It doesn't have to stay the way it's written if you want to change it," chairman Mike Keny told the board, who each had a copy of the contract drawn up by their attorney. "What Curtis had is a good reference point, but this is your chance to have your contract with your director."

The first blank to be filled it was for the length of the contract. The board agreed that four years was too long, and Kristen Gold suggested June 30, 2011, for the ending date.

"I would say June 2012," said Dukes. "That would give me time to implement some of the plans I have."

Randy Perryman and Harvey Jones agreed with him.

The board decided that if Dukes did not want to be considered for another term as director, he should give notice by November 2011, to give ample time for finding a replacement.

The next topic was his compensation. It was written in the contract as $110,000 per year, the same as Dukes was getting as interim director. Barbara Kennedy suggested this was too much, given the number of pupils in the system, and the fact that Dukes does not have a PhD.

Craig Michael said he had been doing some research on and reported that Dukes' salary ranked 37th out of 134 school systems; while our Marshall County principals and teachers rank 30th and 39th respectively.

"If we were out of line (with Dukes' salary) it wouldn't be so close," Michael said.

"He's making less than Curtis did," Curt Denton remarked.

When asked how much Curtis had made, Michael said, "He was very expensive, I assure you," and Keny said, "All added up, it was $160,000."

As far as benefits go, Dukes said, "I want a good car," and explained that he really didn't feel safe driving the "little blue car," which has been in the system for 18 years, on the interstate.

"We can probably buy a car from state surplus," Keny said. "We want you safe and sound on the road."

"You can rent a nice vehicle if you have to go somewhere," Denton said. "Or use your own and get the mileage."

The board decided to do the director's annual evaluation in November each year, and Dukes suggested tying it to what's expected of each student and each school.

Keny encouraged all his board members to re-read the contract, and said he would check with attorney Sam Jackson before the board meeting on April 12.

"We need the contract complete before the board meeting," Michael said.

Keny also told the board that he had been advised that former director Stan Curtis had another job, and was back in the state's consolidated retirement system. Therefore, according to attorney Chuck Cagle, Marshall County did not have to make any more contributions to Curtis' retirement as agreed in his buy-out.

Another budget saving could come from board members waiving their fee for attending meetings.

"It shows we're willing to do our part," Keny said.

"I suggest we waive our fee for the committee meetings," said Barbara Kennedy.