The Helena school board approved a final contract from incoming superintendent Kent Kultgen and, after some contention Wednesday night, agreed on a lower amount of payment for up to 10 days of work during the transition period.
Kultgen is slated to begin work on July 1.
The only change to the contract was the addition of a $2,500 one-time reimbursement for moving expenses. Kultgen is currently the superintendent in Stevensville. A few clarifications were made, including that the new superintendent must get board approval prior to out-of-state travel. The board voted last month to offer a two-year contract to Kultgen with a salary of $140,000, plus benefits and a $500 monthly travel stipend.
No public comment was made and the board voted unanimously to approve the amended contract.
Much more heated discussion occurred regarding the transition period between current interim superintendent Keith Meyer and Kultgen.
Some board members felt it was inappropriate to pay two people to do one job during this period. The initial idea was to pay Kultgen his full hourly wage for five to 10 days in the coming months.
“My confidence lies in the team who has been established,” said vice chair Aidan Myhre.
Many questioned if Kultgen can simply come in July 1 and select his leadership members at that time.
Robin LeNeve said she thought Kultgen wanted to help with adjustment, which was admirable but now is rethinking due to the paycheck.
“We’re waiting and happy he’s coming. But, this price tag is pretty steep,” she said.
Some spoke of tabling the issue until a further meeting. Then an alternative was mentioned of paying Kultgen $400 per day instead of the $583 each day he will earn as superintendent.
Cherche Prezeau suggested the lower wage because Kultgen will be in a consulting role not leading.
The motion was passed unanimously.
Reporter Angela Brandt: 447-4078, email@example.com or Twitter.com/IR_AngelaBrandt