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Farmington School District 192 directors get raises

The Farmington School District's five department directors got a new contract Monday that includes a 5 percent increase to salary and benefits over its two years.

The contract affects finance director Carl Colmark, community education director Heidi Cunningham, educational programs director Barb Duffrin, special education director Carla Nohr Schulz and human resources director MaryAnn Thomas.

The new deal, approved by school board members at their Monday night meeting, is retroactive to July 1, 2012 and runs through June 30, 2014. It increases base salaries by 2 percent in each year of the contract. The first year also includes a change that will make payouts for unused personal leave a contribution to the individual's health reimbursement arrangement rather than a cash payout.

The second year of the deal equalizes a 403b match contribution at $3,500 per year for each of the directors. It also equalizes a health reimbursement retiree arrangement contribution at $4,000 per year. That contribution is given in place of a retiree insurance benefit.

The total cost to the district is $41,000 per year, an amount superintendent Jay Haugen said is in line with the district's budget.

The four board members who were at Monday's meeting approved the new deal unanimously, but not without expressing a few concerns. Board member Laura Beem asked for more detail to show exactly how the salaries are increasing.

Board member Brian Treakle asked Haugen to look at how the district handles sick leave.

The contract approved Monday includes 15 days of sick leave per year and allows the directors to accumulate up to 170 days of leave.

"That's way above the industry," Treakle said. "As far as private industry goes, I get two (sick days)."

Haugen said districts have long used sick-day banks as a way to build a kind of severance pay for upper-level employees, but he said districts have moved away from that practice in recent years.

"Much of that is an artifact of the past," Haugen said.

Haugen said the district would consider changes to the way it handles sick days in future contracts.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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