The Edmonds School District Board of Directors approved new Superintendent Dr. Rebecca Miner’s first contract at its Tuesday, March 14 meeting.
Miner was selected to be the district’s permanent superintendent Feb. 8 after a year of serving as the interim superintendent. Her contract with the district will officially begin July 1, 2023, and will expire June 30, 2026.
“I want to share with you some important aspects of Dr. Miner’s contract for the next year,” Board President Nancy Katims said. “I think it’s important for everyone to know that basically, she opted out of several financial perks that nearly all superintendents take, which tend to inflate their basic salary. She even opted out of some of the benefits that other administrators in our district regularly have in their contract, such as set monthly reimbursements for items like technology and cell phones.”
Miner’s compensation will be $320,000 annually, paid in regular monthly increments.
In addition to not accepting many regular contract perks, Katims said Miner also revised the portion of the contract regarding her salary increases.
“Instead of matching annually to the highest group of superintendents’ salaries in similar districts,” Katims said, “she has chosen to simply take the IPD, which is the cost-of-living increase, that the state stipulates each year, with no additional percentage added on.”
Katims commended Miner for already thinking about what is best for the district rather than focusing on herself.
“These choices that Dr. Miner has made show not only a strong sense of the need to help protect our district budget during the times in which we will be needing to make cuts, but also a high level of integrity to not want to inflate her basic salary with somewhat costly perks that are typically less visible in superintendent contracts,” Katims said.
The board unanimously approved a motion to approve Miner’s contract.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, a parent of a sophomore at Edmonds-Woodway High School addressed the board with concerns about safety.
“In our son’s brief time at [Edmonds-Woodway], I have been shocked and angry at the lack of security and safety that’s being provided for all students,” she said.
The parent said she met with Principal Allison Larsen to talk about these issues after her son was caught in the middle of a fight between two other students in a gender-neutral bathroom, but the principal didn’t address her concerns.
“The fact is that our son does not feel safe or comfortable and rarely uses the bathroom because kids are doing drugs or having sex in them,” she said. “Our children should feel safe and deserve better.”
The mother told the board she was frustrated that they had opted to take police officers — known as school resource officers (SROs) — out of the schools and expected teachers and faculty who are not trained to handle violence to deal with the situation themselves.
“As a taxpayer and a mom, I’m appalled at what I’m seeing in our district,” she said. “I’m here to ask: What are your plans? Do you really care? Are you truly for our students? Because as I see it, the board and district are failing our students.”
Board Director Keith Smith said while he understands that all parents are concerned for their children’s safety, bringing officers into the schools is not the only solution to the issues the district is facing.
“I completely understand that we want to keep our kids safe and that is not falling on deaf ears,” Smith said. “I also know that every time we bring a law enforcement official into a school, they enforce the law. Which means, two kids get in a fight in the lunchroom, and now we have two assault charges rather than two kids getting their parents called.”
Smith said that while law enforcement officers mostly do a great job when dealing with adults, they might not be the best answer when dealing with children in the school system.
Board Director Deborah Kilgore agreed with Smith, saying that SROs might not be the best solution and the district is trying to look at various other ways to handle violence in the schools.
“We are looking into this issue,” Kilgore said. “We are taking it seriously. What the solution will look like to this, we’re still not sure.”
In other business, the board observed school retirees appreciation week as well as celebrated the new national board-certified teachers in the district.
“I would like to say as a school retiree who has chosen to devote all of her volunteer time to the learning of our students,” Katims said, “I appreciate the appreciation week for school retirees as well as everybody else who has given their career to the schools once they get to retire.”
The new board-certified teachers in the district are: Alicia Hickman from Lynnwood Elementary, Aaron Holder from Mountlake Terrace Elementary, Sibel Okumus from Meadowdale Middle School, Jennifer Ginder from Lynnwood High School, Stephanie Gwaltney from Sherwood Elementary and Mai Smith from Alderwood Early Childhood Center.
The board also approved playground upgrade contracts for Hilltop and Sherwood elementary schools totaling roughly $937,000, as well as several policy updates regarding executive sessions, remote work, meeting conduct, student records and high school equivalency certificates.
— By Lauren Reichenbach
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