The Ketchikan School Board will meet on Wednesday to discuss who will replace Superintendent Beth Lougee once her resignation becomes effective at the end of the month.
Lougee resigned on April 16 after going on an extended period of leave. Her husband, himself an Alaska superintendent, passed away due to COVID-19 earlier this year, and Lougee contracted the disease afterward. Her resignation said she needed to "take some time to focus on my own well-being."
Wednesday's school board meeting, the first regular meeting since Lougee announced her resignation, will include a batch of actions related to the resignation, including approval of a separation agreement, acceptance of the resignation, a budget amendment and an executive session to choose an interim superintendent.
The board's first item of new business on Wednesday — and its first proposed action in finding a new superintendent — is accepting Lougee's resignation.
Next, the board will move to approve a separation agreement with Lougee, requiring an expenditure of $80,624.42.
The cost of the agreement includes 130 days' salary "at the current per diem rate, less applicable taxes and ordinary payroll withholdings," according to the text of the agreement. Lougee's salary, as agreed to last February, was $145,000, not including benefits.
The district also will pay a lump sum to Lougee to allow her to continue covering the out-of-pocket cost of her health insurance for the period starting on May 1 and ending on Oct. 31.
The payment "shall not include co-pays or deductible payments incurred by Employee during this time, but shall include the value of the premium payments equal to the coverage now enjoyed by Employee, including covered dependents," according to the agenda.
It's unclear whether the health insurance cost is included in the $80,624.42 total. District Business Manager Katie Parrott could not be reached for comment by press time Monday.
The agreement was signed by Lougee, Board President Kim Hodne and Board Clerk-Treasurer Bridget Mattson on April 15, one day before Lougee submitted her letter of resignation.
The cost of Lougee's resignation will be covered by the final item of new business on the agenda: a set of revisions to the district's budget for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30.
The budget revisions would move a total of $293,500 from 10 different uses in the district's budget to cover increases in four areas: a $155,000 increase for curriculum materials; a $125,000 increase for "Superintendent certified salary;" an $8,500 increase for maintenance equipment; and a $5,000 increase for "Central Office classified salary."
Funding for the increases would come exclusively from "unused/unencumbered budgeted amounts" in a variety of areas of the district's budget: $85,000 in "Classified Subs/Temps;" $46,900 in "Insurance - Health & Life;" $40,000 in "Equipment;" $35,000 for long-term substitute staff; $26,000 for "staff travel;" $25,000 in "Other Expenses (Medicaid Fees);" $15,600 for student travel; $10,000 for labor services; and $5,000 each for board legal services and for small tools and equipment.
Finally, concluding the meeting, the board will meet in a closed-door executive session "for the purpose of considering an appointment of an Interim Superintendent," according to the agenda.
Time is set aside after the executive session to allow the board to take action based on its discussion.
In related fiscal actions, the board will hold a second and final public hearing on its operating budget for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
The latest budget for the upcoming school year totals $41.5 million, an increase of $117,848 from the operating budget the district presented at the board's April 14 meeting.
Board members approved that budget, but several asked the district for more information and clarity, including how much of the budget was being spent on each school and how the district planned to use its portion of federal COVID-19 relief funding.
The board met in a special session on Thursday evening to discuss details of the budget and provide feedback.
"The proposed budget was further revised based on direction from the Board at the work session, and the revised proposed operating fund budget is presented here for approval in second reading," the agenda explains.
Board members also are likely to approve three contracts for the upcoming school year for Catharine Rocke, Erin Knight and Sheri Adams.
Rocke would teach at the Tongass School of Arts and Sciences for a salary of $79,507. Her contract would cost the district $104,851 in total.
Knight is currently an Alternative Education Case manager at a Vermont high school. She would be teaching at Revilla Junior Senior High School with a salary of $66,487. Her contract would cost the district five dollars short of $90,000 when including insurance and benefits.
Finally, district administrators are asking the board to approve a $60,680 contract with Adams for speech and language pathology services.
The agenda for her contract notes that the district had one full-time speech language pathologist resign in early 2018 and another in July of 2019.
"KGBSD is advertising for, but has not yet filled 2 full time speech language pathologist positions," the agenda item explains. "Additional speech & language services are needed in order to meet the needs of KGBSD students."
All three contracts are listed on the consent calendar for Wednesday's meeting, meaning they are considered routine. Unless the board moves one of the contracts off the consent calendar for discussion, all three will be addressed with a single motion.
Wednesday's meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly chambers at 1900 First Ave. There will be time for public comment near the start of the meeting, as well as at the start of each public hearing.
The full agenda for Monday's meeting can be found on the district website at bit.ly/2R3uhlz.