District 2 completes final draft of contract for superintendent

2010-05-17T21:32:00Z District 2 completes final draft of contract for superintendentROB ROGERS Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
May 17, 2010 9:32 pm  • 

The Billings School District 2 board has a final draft of the contract for its new superintendent, Trustee Joel Guthals announced at Monday’s regular board meeting.

“We have successfully completed contract negotiations,” Guthals told the board.

The final draft was worked out with Keith Beeman, the district’s superintendent candidate, on Friday night.

Beeman is the associate superintendent of human resources for the Chino Valley Unified School District in Southern California. He’ll receive a copy of the contract draft for his official approval in the next few days.

From there, the board will vote on approval of the contract at its next meeting, next Monday. Guthals said Beeman plans to travel to Billings and attend that meeting to see the contract’s approval and then sign it.

Wording important

Much of the negotiations hinged on the technical wording of the contract, Guthals said.

For example, on Friday the two worked on getting the wording right for the contract’s disability insurance provision. As chief of human resources for Chino, Beeman has extensive experience writing and formulating contracts, Guthals said.

He also told the board that contract details would be released once it becomes official. Beeman’s salary, he said, was “well within the appropriate” range that the board had set up when it began its superintendent search.

The district advertised a salary range of $140,000 to $165,000.

Also at the meeting, the board discussed trustee boundaries within the district.

The issue came up when Trustee Mary Jo Fox said she planned to move to a neighborhood just south of the area she represents in the Heights.

“We won’t be changing any boundaries,” board Chairwoman Barbara Bryan said after about 20 minutes of discussion.

The issue elicited a few comments from the public.

Leon Pattyn, who introduced himself to the board as one of the officials who set up the trustee boundaries in 2004, pleaded with the board to wait until U.S. Census figures are released before adjusting the zones.

Zones by neighborhood

“We tried to set them by neighborhood,” he said.

The board needed to respect that, he added.

Jeff Weldon, the board’s attorney, spoke to the board and offered similar advice, counseling trustees to wait for census figures. New census figures are expected in 2012 or 2013.

He said it’s “reasonable and probably required of the board” to look at its trustee boundaries with the release of new census data.

Fox emphasized that much of her concern regarding the boundaries has to do with where students are required to attend school.

Fox is looking at moving to the Indian Cliffs subdivision. Although the subdivision is on the West End, students there attend school in the Heights.

“If those families are going to be considered Heights families, then they should be in the Heights zone,” Fox said.

Otherwise, she said, send the students back to West End schools.

Trustee Teresa Stroebe disagreed, saying the issue of trustee boundaries and where students were assigned to attend school are separate issues.

“It’s not about the families or the kids,” Stroebe said. “It’s about gerrymandering.”

Ultimately, the board decided to wait until next year to begin examining the issue, giving trustees time to put policy in place that could direct their actions once census data is released.

The board then voted unanimously to have its policy committee look at the district’s requirement that sends some students to schools outside of the geographical area in which they live.

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231.

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