With a standard black Bic ballpoint pen, Keith Beeman signed a two-year contract to become Billings School District 2’s new superintendent at a special board meeting on Monday night.
The contract provides Beeman an annual salary of $160,000.
“Welcome aboard,” Chairwoman Barbara Bryan told Beeman after a round of applause. “We’re just delighted to have you.”
“I feel great,” Beeman said after the meeting. “I’m very excited, very honored.”
Trustees voted unanimously to approve Beeman’s contract after Trustee Joel Guthals gave a detailed explanation of its various provisions.
The board had set a salary range of $140,000 to $165,000 when it advertised the position last winter.
Guthals called Beeman’s salary of $160,000 “commensurate with the responsibilities of this position” and “competitive” with similar districts.
Guthals said that, in order to get the best talent, School District 2 had to be willing to pay for it. He said he’s confident that SD2 is getting the most for its money with Beeman.
At present, compared with like-sized districts, SD2’s superintendent salary is below the national average, which is $170,000.
Jack Copps, who has been SD2 superintendent for the past three years, was paid $130,000 annually. He has repeatedly turned down raises offered by the board.
Similarly, in negotiations, Beeman agreed to forgo raises for the length of his contract, acknowledging the budget shortfalls anticipated by the district over the next two years.
Beeman described his pay as associated superintendent of human resources for the Chino Valley Unified School District in Southern California as “comparable” with what he’ll be paid by SD2. As he worked out the details of his contract with the board, he said it made sense not to drive the price of his contract too high. He is a steward of the district’s funds, he said.
The board applauded the efforts to make the process amicable and keep the contract financially sound.
“I think that shows a very good understanding (of the district’s financial standing) and sacrifice on his part,” said Trustee Mary Jo Fox.
Fox pointed out also that Beeman’s willingness to forgo a raise communicates to the district’s unions that raises aren’t guaranteed.
Also included in Beeman’s contract is $7,500 to relocate to Billings, two weeks’ paid vacation, a $300 monthly travel stipend and 10 days of paid leave for professional development.
Beeman’s first day at the district will be July 1; however, he’s in Billings this week to meet with Copps and work with district staff.
Contact Rob Rogers at email@example.com or 657-1231.