HAZARD – The Perry County Board of Education this month approved a contract for newly-hired Superintendent Jonathan Jett which contains some notable differences from that of his predecessor, longtime Superintendent John Paul Amis.
The board approved Jett’s hire during a special-called meeting on May 24, and voted 4-0 on his contract during a subsequent meeting on June 5. The contract will be effective as of July 1 for a period of four years.
Jett will have an annual salary of $120,000, though he is not assured an annual raise, or any pay increases, for the life of the contract. He will receive an increase in salary in the event that all other certified employees, which include teachers and principals, are given an increase as well. Any raise in this instance will be at the same percentage as other employees.
The school board, however, does reserve the right to approve a separate raise based on the superintendent’s evaluation, which must be conducted annually, though a positive evaluation does not guarantee an increase.
“If he ever gets a raise, he’ll have to go directly through the board,” noted board Chairman John C. Combs. “There won’t be no roll overs or anything like that. We’re not going to go through that process.”
The final contract for Jett’s predecessor, John Paul Amis, who was first hired in the 1990s and retired last autumn, differed as it required an initial 10 percent raise upon the contract’s approval in 2006, along with an annual 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase. Amis’s contract also called for an annual one-year extension, or roll over.
Jett will be required to work 240 days each year, and to take all vacation time during non-contract days. His leave days accrue at the same rate as all certified employees and the board will pay for or reimburse any “reasonable expenses” incurred during his tenure.
Jett will also be provided with a vehicle for official use only. The make and model of the vehicle will be of the board’s choosing. Former Superintendent Amis’s contract also provided a vehicle – a Ford Crown Victoria at a minimum – along with a $700 per month vehicle allowance. Jett’s contract does not include any allowance beyond the reimbursement of expenses.
Superintendent Jett will be provided with the same retirement benefits as all certified employees under the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, but unlike Amis, the board did not authorize up to a 5 percent match for a tax-sheltered annuity, nor will be the board be responsible for reimbursement of all retirement payments.
Jett’s contract makes no mention of medical insurance, though Chairman Combs said he will be provided with the same insurance all certified employees receive. Amis’s contract called for major medical and a life insurance policy, of which money accumulated for the latter became Amis’s upon his retirement. The board also provided for Amis an “enhanced family health and dental insurance plant at expense of the Board,” which Chairman Combs noted was not included in Jett’s contract, at Jett’s request.
“He took all that out,” Combs said. “He said he’d take the same plan as everyone else, that he wasn’t any better than the employees.”
Jett, like Amis, will be provided with computer equipment and related services that will allow him to perform certain duties while away from the office, though Combs noted that Jett turned down a district cell phone. The board also agreed to pay any dues for membership in certain professional and civic organizations, including the American Association of School Administrators, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Kentucky Education Association, and one civic club of Jett’s choice.
Combs said he viewed the contract as a fair one for the district, as Jett’s starting salary will be on average approximately $15,000 less than superintendents in surrounding districts of the same size. He added, however, that Jett has every opportunity to increase his salary by working to improve the district.
“I think after four years if he does a good job he should get a raise, if he don’t he should probably be looking for the road,” Combs said. “If you don’t move the district, then you need to move on.”