Duluth School Board approves Gronseth's contractMuch of the new superintendent's contract is the same as his predecessor, I.V. Foster, who resigned in January after half a year on the job.
By: Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune
The Duluth School Board approved a 2.5-year contract with Superintendent Bill Gronseth on Monday night.
Gronseth will earn $168,000, pro-rated for the remainder of this year and each of the next two years with no increase. His severance pay is rolled into his base pay, the same structure given to former superintendent I.V. Foster, who he replaces mid-year after Foster and the board came to a separation agreement. Foster, who began July 1, had been working without a license required to do the job.
Much of the contract is the same as Foster’s, except the board has agreed to pay $5,000 per year up to $15,000 for Gronseth’s continuing education expenses. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in education.
Also new to the contract is a portion on performance goals. The board and Gronseth will set goals that will be reviewed annually. He does not receive monetary bonuses for meeting the goals. He will also receive a performance review once a year.
The board approved the contract 6-0, with member Mary Cameron absent. It also approved 6-0 additional pay for Gronseth for the time he acted as interim superintendent. The board approved $950 a week for the nine weeks he replaced Foster while he was on paid leave. The amount is the difference between weekly earnings of the assistant superintendent and superintendent, said Tim Sworsky, director of human resources.
“He has essentially been doing both positions,” Sworsky said.
Before the vote, member Art Johnston said he supported Gronseth but thought the salary was high related to his experience and in comparison to other superintendents in similar-sized districts who had more experience.
Member Judy Seliga Punyko said she was comfortable with the amount given Gronseth’s experience as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and his time already in the superintendent role.
“This contract has a zero percent increase, which I appreciate,” she said. “And he really has performed duties so well as superintendent.”
Member Tom Kasper said he was encouraged by the money designated to help Gronseth earn his doctoral degree, and member Bill Westholm said that given the “complexities of the district,” the salary was appropriate.
Foster’s three-year contract included a base pay of $173,765, with 1 percent increases each of the second and third years. He also had received $12,000 in relocation expenses.
Former superintendent Keith Dixon earned $159,585 last year, but also left with $80,000 in severance pay.