Bill to alter superintendent contracts clears Senate committee

March 6, 2012 11:23 am

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The state Senate Education Committee today approved a proposal to limit contract buyouts to superintendents and requires student achievement to be part of a superintendent's contract.

The bill -- sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Piccola, R-Dauphin,and chairman of the committee -- is in its early stages. It still requires approval from both the House and the Senate before going to the governor.

The bill also calls for three-year contracts for superintendents and assistant superintendents rather than the current standard for boards to approve three to five years.

Under the bill, superintendent and assistant superintendent contracts would be subject to Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know law.

"Reining in these contracts and making them subject to greater transparency and accountability through performance-based objectives is a step in the right direction," Mr. Piccola said in a news release.

Since 2004, contract buyouts have been costly for some school districts.

South Allegheny bought out the contract of the late Patrick Risha for $375,000. Mt. Lebanon paid more than $500,000 to buy out the contract of Margery Sable. Pittsburgh paid $150,165 to buy out the contract of former superintendent John Thompson and $213,000 for Lynn Spampinato to give up her job as deputy superintendent and perform consulting work.

The news release said that proposal is supported by recommendations made by state Auditor General Jack Wager, who studied various superintendent buyout agreements.

Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.
First Published 2012-03-06 10:25:08

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