Tahlequah Daily Press

January 15, 2013

TPS gives Presley pay increase, new contract

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Presley received a two-year contract and salary increase Monday night after approval from board members. Both changes will be effective beginning next school year.

Presley’s new contract will theoretically keep her in the top administrative position through June 2015. She is set to receive a base salary of $100,000 for the 2013-’14 school year, and $104,000 the following year. Provisions of the contract allow Presley and the board to mutually agree to salary adjustments during the term of the contract, excluding any decrease.

The new contract also lists several methods by which the contract can be terminated, including resignation by Presley; dismissal for cause under state law; and unilateral termination by the board without cause, which would require the board to give a 30-day written notice to Presley. Under the last scenario, the board would pay Presley severance pay equal to her base salary for 12 months or the remaining term of the contract, whichever is less.

If Presley were to resign before her contract is up, the district would be responsible only for her compensation and benefits through the last day of her employment.

The board – minus Donna Tinnin, who was absent from Monday evening’s monthly meeting – also provided Presley $7,200 per year in lieu of a school vehicle and for vehicle expenses.

The superintendent will also receive $1,200 a year to defray the cost of purchasing and operating a cell phone and maintaining home and mobile Internet access for use in her duties.

TPS will pay Presley’s and the district’s statutory contribution to the Oklahoma Teacher Retirement System; $5,567.88 per year for medical, health and hospitalization, and life-insurance premiums; and other benefits and expenses.

Presley was named the district’s interim superintendent last summer after then-Superintendent Shannon Goodsell’s resignation. Board members dropped Presley’s interim status by vote in November, but left her base salary at $92,000 per year.

Board President Shannon Pinson and Presley provided the Daily Press with a list of salaries from Oklahoma schools of comparable enrollment to TPS – including Grove, Poteau, Miami, McAlester, Ada, Shawnee, Sallisaw, and Wagoner. Compared to those districts, only Grove’s superintendent has a lower current base salary than Tahlequah’s superintendent will receive when the contract is bumped up to $104,000 in 2014-’15.

The average base salary of those schools, factoring in Tahlequah’s future increase, is $109,920.11.

When fringe benefits are added in, Grove and Sallisaw are the only districts in the same list to pay less now than TPS will pay its superintendent under the new contract, according to the data.