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Superintendent will earn $157K

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Wells signs four-year contract; eligible for same pay increases as employees

By Tracy Harris

The contract for new school Superintendent Will Wells shows a salary similar to the previous superintendent’s starting salary but with little leeway for increases.

Wells signed a four-year contract this summer with the Oldham County Board of Education for $157,500 annually.

When former superintendent Paul Upchurch took over the district in 2005, his starting salary was $137,500 — about $161,500 when adjusted for inflation. 

However, Upchurch’s contract provided for more salary raises, including a $17,000 bump he received in 2008.

According to Wells’ contract, he will only receive the same raises and average step increases as received by certified school employees. He is not eligible for those raises until the 2013-2014 school year.

Those raises are typically calculated as a percentage increase. 

For example, Oldham County teachers are receiving a 1.6 percent state-mandated step raise for the 2012-13 school year and an additional half-percent raise from the district.

Those raises would increase Wells’ annual salary by about $3,300.

The contract also states Wells can be offered one additional year of employment beyond his four year term.

Wells will work on the same 240-day calendar for 12-month employees and will receive 20 vacation days that can be carried over up to 40 days. 

He receives state retirement benefits and a $600 monthly insurance stipend. 

The contract also grants Wells the use of a vehicle, including paying for fuel, maintenance and insurance.

Wells must submit a statement of recommended goals to board of education members year-to-year, and the board will evaluate annually if those objectives are met. Not meeting those goals could result in termination, according to the contract.

By comparison, Jefferson County Schools in Louisville hired Donna Hargens as superintendent in 2011. 

Hargens received a starting salary of $276,000 along with the same average percentage increase as teaching staff. Her contract also has the option for an additional performance-based percentage raise or lump sum payment at the board’s discretion. Hargens receives 30 paid vacation days, state retirement benefits and an additional $30,000 paid annually into a separate tax-deferred annuity retirement account.