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Park Hill interim leader base
salary is $194k

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Contract documents obtained by The Landmark indicate Park Hill’s interim superintendent will receive a base salary of $194,000.

Dr. Jeanette Cowherd was named interim superintendent earlier this month. She has a one-year contract to serve as interim starting July 1, 2015 and running through June 30, 2016.

Park Hill School Board has indicated it will hire a search firm and conduct what it calls a “nationwide” search for a permanent superintendent. That process is expected to begin in the fall, school officials said.

Cowherd has served as acting superintendent since April 13, when the Park Hill School Board reached a “resignation agreement” with previous superintendent Dr. Scott Springston. Springston resigned following a series of special board meetings that focused on a “personnel investigation.”

As exclusively reported in The Landmark on April 29, Springston’s wife had told police who responded to her call of a domestic disturbance at the Springston home in February that her husband had “issues with alcohol” and had “arrived home from work intoxicated.”

Springston’s wife told Weatherby Lake police that her husband “has issues with alcohol and the littlest amount of alcohol will make him violent, which has been increasing lately,” according to the police report.

In addition to the $184,000 base salary, Cowherd will receive a $4,000 stipend for having a doctorate degree and a automobile allowance of $800 per month ($9,600 annually). She will also receive reimbursement (at IRS mileage rate) for any business-related trip (one way) which exceeds a distance of 150 miles from the district office.

The district will also pay the annual premium for term life insurance in the amount of $100,000. The district will also provide fully paid health and dental insurance for the interim superintendent and dependents and also provide liability insurance coverage and disability insurance.

Cowherd will be entitled to 20 days of paid vacation within the one year contract period.

When she accepted the job of acting superintendent to serve from April 13 to June 30 of this year, the school board approved $15,000 in compensation to Cowherd for that time period. That $15,000 is in addition to the salary she was making as assistant superintendent. Cowherd’s base salary as assistant superintendent this year is $146,661.

Cowherd’s one year contract as interim superintendent contains a provision that, in the 2016-17 school year, she be extended an offer for reemployment at the same assistant superintendent position she held prior to taking over the interim superintendent post.

Her interim superintendent contract featuring that provision states: “The purpose of this provision is to assure the Interim Superintendent that she will not lose the opportunity to regain her employment in the same position as Assistant Superintendent during the 2016-2017 school year that she held for the 2014-2015 school year, should she accept the offer of employment, and that if she accepts the Assistant Superintendent position her salary and benefits for that position will not be negatively impacted for the 2016-2017 school year because of this agreement. The parties specifically agree, however, that the extension of the offer for the 2016-2017 school year shall not be required by the District if this Agreement is terminated.”

In regard to review and evaluation, the one-year contract states:

“The Board shall provide the Interim Superintendent, upon its own initiative or at the request of Interim Superintendent, periodic opportunities to discuss Board/Interim Superintendent relationships and to discuss the Interim Superintendent's performance. Such discussions shall be held in a Closed Session with a closed record and closed vote when applicable. The Board shall conduct a minimum of one written evaluation of the Interim Superintendent during this contract year.”

Another provision says the interim superintendent “shall devote her full time and attention to the business of the District. She may engage in outside consulting work, speaking engagements, writing, lecturing or teaching only with the express approval of the Board of Education and then only if such activities do not interfere with her duties and responsibilities as Interim Superintendent.”

Cowherd’s base salary of $194,000 compares to Springston’s base salary of $184,000 in his first year as superintendnet in 2012-13.

Under his contract in effect at the time of his resignation in April, Springston was receiving a base salary of $213,725.

The district will pay about $70,500 into Springston’s pension this year. His contract included an annual $20,000 payment for “benefit maintenance” to be used at his discretion. Other district paid benefits, including health and life insurance, long-term disability and contributions to Medicare are valued at $28,500. His contract called for a $4,000 rider annually for a doctorate degree.

In addition, the district paid him a monthly automobile allowance for local use of a personal vehicle in the amount of $800 per month, $9,600 per year. This brought Springston’s total compensation package to more than $346,000.