Bill Kuester was officially hired Monday as interim superintendent at Neligh-Oakdale.
He will receive a base salary of $122,000 - 6 percent more than current superintendent Kimberly Lingenfelter, who resigned last December effective June 30.
Kuester will also receive 20 vacation days, 9 sick days, up to $100 per month reimbursement for a cellular phone, a laptop for both person and professional use, disability insurance, term life insurance of $40,000, professional development expenses, professional dues and other benefits. View his contract here.
Total cost to the district to employ Kuester is $145,697.06 for the one year. He will receive $12,050.92 in retirement, $7,254.00 in social security and $1,769.00 in medicare.
Before approving the contract, board member Chris Ford questioned if the board had properly published all required documentation according to the Superintendent's Transparency Act. He then read a portion of the Act.
The Act states: "The board shall publish a copy of such proposed contract or amendment, and a reasonable estimate and description of all current and future costs to the school district or educational service unit if the proposed contract or amendment were to be approved, at least three days before the meeting of the board at which such proposed contract or amendment will be considered."
Board president David Wright said he spoke to Lingenfelter earlier in the day about whether the cost estimate needed to be published and referred that question to her. She said a memo from the Harding & Shultz, the district’s former law firm, gave the board direction last year to publish the contract three days prior to the meeting.
Lingenfelter said the Act is relatively new, which is why the memo was sent to the board.
“However, when you read the Act, the statute is not as clear,” she said.
Ford asked Wright if he had ever read the Superintendent's Transparency Act. Wright said he had only read the memo provided, not the actual Act.
Board member Ryan Koinzan asked if the school’s current attorney - KSB School Law - was consulted. Lingenfelter said they were not. Earlier in the meeting, the board approved a $2,147.75 bill to the firm that included reviewing Kuester’s contract.
Wright then asked if there was any more discussion. Ford asked, “So we feel comfortable that whatever we have in memo form we can hang our hat on?”
“I do,” Wright said.
“I don’t know if everyone knows but its basically our state aid would be on the line,” Ford said, referring to the penalty for not following the Superintendent's Transparency Act, which is loss of state aid for Neligh-Oakdale.
The board then unanimously approved Kuester’s contract.