The Eden School Board on Monday agreed to pay out $81,000 in vacation and sick leave benefits to the district’s former superintendent.
The board last month accepted the resignation of Ronald K. Buggs during a special board meeting, severing his 15-year relationship with district.
“This is a contractually required payout that we have to give to Mr. Buggs,” said board President Steven Cerne during a packed meeting of the board in the Junior/Senior High School cafeteria.
Cerne said the payout had nothing to do with the timing of when Buggs resigned.
“This is not any kind of buyout or anything like that. This was just agreements that previous boards had made Mr. Buggs in his contract and we were apprised to the contractual obligation to pay these monies,” Cerne said.
“I want you to understand that this is not something I’m very happy about, writing these checks,” he added.
In his initial contract, Buggs was allotted 25 vacation days per year.
He was allowed to accumulate an additional 30 unused vacation days over the course of his contract, Cerne explained.
“The payout was one-240th of his final salary, which is $583 per day. So that initial grant of those 30 days or the ability to accumulate those 30 days was worth $17,500.”
The sick days he was granted at that time were 15 per year.
He could accumulated up to 240, but there was no payout for sick days at that time, said Cerne.
Buggs’ contract was amended in 2007, increasing the number of vacation days that he could accumulate to 55, which amounted to another $11,000. It still excluded any payout for sick days. However, in 2008, Buggs got a new contract in which he was given $55 for every unused sick day he accumulated. That payout amounted $9,900.
“The one that hurt the district the most, in my opinion, was in 2010. This one I know about,” Cerne said.
He said both he and board Vice President Kristen Pinker were on the board and present for that meeting, but they both voted against the amendment to Buggs’ contract, while the others on the board at that time voted in favor.
“What it did was change the payout for sick days from $55 a day to $291 a day,” said Cerne, at which point some members of the audience gasped.
Cerne said the result was an additional $42,500 for Buggs.
“So if you add all those increments up, we have to pay out $28,700 in vacation and $52,400 in sick days for a total of $81,216,” Cerne said.
Meanwhile, the board Monday also accepted the resignation of the district’s finance officer, Lisa A. Almasi, effective Feb. 28, and agreed to grant her a total of $7,336 in unused vacation time. Almasi has been with the district for 7½ years.
The School Board did not appoint a replacement for Buggs on Monday. Cerne said the board is in the process of negotiating contracts with finalists for the position. Richard Schaefer, principal of Eden Elementary, has been acting in the role on an interim basis.
Pinker said chances are good a new superintendent will be in place by the end of the month.