Board puts its stamp on contract

Patrick Jenkins restated his commitment to move to St. Landry Parish. Jenkins, shown at a Monday meeting of the School Board, has been selected as the next superintendent. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)

By Harlan Kirgan Editor

St. Landry Parish School Board members began tweaking the next superintendent’s contract, but didn’t alter the $138,000 base salary at a special meeting Monday.
The board meets again on Nov. 3 and the contract is almost certain to come up on the agenda.
The man selected as the next superintendent, Patrick Jenkins, was selected Oct. 5 on a 7-6 vote.
Jenkins, 48, was to assume his duties on Monday, but the contract was still under review.
The contract negotiations are between the the board’s attorney, Jenkins and his attorney, and Raymond Cassimere, board president, and Daryl Wagley, board vice president.
A salary range of $128,00 to $160,000 had been advertised for the job.
At the Oct. 5 meeting, Jenkins said he would accept a salary at the lower end of the range, but with a four-year contract.
However, at Monday’s meeting, the board voted unanimously to adjust the contract’s termination date from Dec. 31, 2019, to June 30, 2019 — two and half years.
Mary Ellen Donatto, a Eunice board member, said, “... all we need to see is something, see some growth.”
The issue was whether the board would be have one or two years of state benchmark reports on the school system’s progress. The reports are issued in fall, which would mean there would only be one year that reflected Jenkins’ tenure.
The board on an 8-3 vote reduced a clause that would have paid Jenkins $1,000 a month for travel expenses.
Voting for the reduction were board members Donatto, Wagley, Cassimere, Candace Gerace, Donnie Perron, Huey Wyble and Roger Young.
Voting “No” were Albert Hayes Jr., Hazel Sias and Milton Ambres.
Board member Anthony Standberry was absent.
Courtney Joiner, board attorney, said the $1,000 for travel expenses was in the contract because Jenkins is a Zachary resident.
The reference that he is a Zachary resident sparked an observation from Kyle Boss, a board member, that, “He is supposed to be moving over here. That was the agreement.”
Jenkins said, “I committed to you that I was going to move to St. Landry Parish. I’m committed to that. However, there is a process of selling a home, purchasing a home ...”
Jenkins said he has met every principal, traveled to the schools and met every Central Office staff member on two weeks of his own time.
“There should be no doubt in your mind that I’m committed to St. Landry Parish,” he said.
But board member Huey Wyble pointed out the proposed contract states, “If the superintendent relocates ...”
Wyble said, “Should it be ‘when he relocates?’”
Hayes noted the job description required the next superintendent live in St. Landry Parish.
The contract provides $3,000 for moving expenses if the move occurs by October 2017.
In addition to the base pay, the superintendent is to receive performance pay up to $7,500 in the first year and up to $15,000 a year in subsequent years.
Jenkins opted for a $100 a month payment for cell phone, laptop and other electronic devices.
Joiner noted the board was not required to approve the contract at Monday’s meeting.
Evaluation details are to be presented at the Nov. 3 meeting, Joiner said.

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