Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Couple opposed superintendentís contract extension

A longer version of this letter was sent to each Blaine County School District board member on March 11 for their review prior to their meeting on March 12.

School District Board of Trustees:

We’re writing to ask that you do not grant a one year extension of Dr. Barber’s contract.  Since his current contract is effective until July of 2015, we think there is plenty of time to consider renewal of it, at a more appropriate time.

Our school district is facing myriad difficulties, including a law suit, contract disputes, below average test scores and graduation rates and above average per-pupil expenditures. The responsibility for this dismal performance rests solely with the Superintendent, whom you manage, and his hand-picked staff.

According to, Sept. 19, 2011, ( HYPERLINK "", Dr. Barber receives a generous pay package, including the highest salary of any Superintendent in the state (nearly $160,000 per year), plus full health, dental and vision insurance and a free car.  Also, the District pays Barber’s share of his retirement contribution (about $9,000 annually) along with a separate $20,000 payment for a private 401(k) retirement plan, and $15,500 toward his state retirement plan.  Those perks were given to Dr. Barber in an addendum to his official contract that is not well known by the taxpayers.  

Standard personnel practice is to agree upon an employee contract for a set period of time, then consider renewal of that contract just prior to expiration.  Adding “extensions” appears underhanded and deceptive, since the public is not privy to the full discussion about the contract.  We assume that you, as conscientious public servants, want full, public disclosure of every pertinent fact before deciding whether to renew Barber’s contract.

Since so many District issues are pending, please let this contract continue as it is, expiring in 2015. We’re asking you to be very cautious with your fellow citizens’ money and not lock us into an additional year with a very expensive and underperforming Superintendent. 

Barbara and Spence Browning



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