Contract renewed: Superintendent scores $130,000

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By Linda Ireland

The LaRue County School Board renewed Superintendent Sam Sanders’ contract at its July 15 meeting.

Sanders will receive at least $130,000 salary for each of the next four years, four weeks of vacation, health and dental insurance, family plan, professional and civic dues and a vehicle.

The board will pay for “all reasonable maintenance, fuel, repairs, insurance and travel expenses incurred by the superintendent,” according to the contract.

He received a 2 percent increase in salary. Future increases will be at a level equivalent to other certified staff when – and at the same time – salary increases are granted.

Sanders has been receiving $10,000 annual annuity in a retirement account. That money was transferred to his regular salary.

“It’s really the same money, just packaged differently,” said board member Joanna Hinton, after the meeting. “There is a small raise.”

Hinton noted the new salary begins in the 2014-15 school year; the contract expires June 30, 2018.

Sanders’ previous contract had a one-year rollover provision, said board member Price Smith. The new contract does not include the provision.

Shifting the $10,000 annuity into the superintendent’s regular wage will “boost his salary for his teacher’s retirement,” said Smith.

Sanders is one of the longest tenured superintendents in the state and the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative – a consortium representing school districts in south central Kentucky – according to Smith.

“For the responsibility, length of time and results we’ve gotten, I think (his salary) is very fair,” said Smith. “I think he has done well. He knows how to hire good people.”

Smith, Hinton, Dawn Conner and Michael Hornback voted for the contract; Linda Pearman voted against it.

Pearman said it was “too early” to sign a new contract.

“I thought we needed to do away with the annuity and not discuss the contract until next spring,” she said.

“He was making $117,000 and asked for the $10,000 annuity to be added to that, which brings it to $127,000 – then a 2 percent raise has been proposed across the (district) next year,” she said. “That’s $130,000 cash and we also pay his family insurance ... car, gas, insurance and maintenance.”

“We’re one of the smallest school districts in the state – that kind of money is out of line,” she added.

“It’s hard to be the only one sitting there with a differing opinion,” she added.

The contract was not signed and notarized at the meeting as board attorney James Whitlow was on vacation and Sanders was preparing to leave on a trip.

Sanders was hired in 2002, earning $90,000 annually. He received a second contract in 2005 that included a rollover clause, which is permitted by KRS 160.350.