MASON CITY | The Mason City Board of Education unanimously approved a two-year, non-rolling contract for Superintendent Anita Micich following an hour-long, closed session performance review Tuesday evening.
After her first year of employment with the district, Micich, 67, has typically received a three-year, rolling contract.
Before a roll call vote was taken to approve the contract, board president Mark Dodd said the agreement will "provide the incoming board with maximum flexibility."
Six of the seven School Board seats are up for election Sept. 8. Three or four seats are normally up for election at a given time, but the number is higher for this election due to two resignations.
Micich will receive a $192,985 salary through the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2016. Per a previously approved sharing agreement, Mason City pays 60 percent of the salary and Clear Lake pays 40 percent.
If the sharing agreement continues with Clear Lake in 2016-17, her contract states she will receive $198,298 July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.
The districts have been sharing Micich since 2010 and vote annually on continuing or discontinuing the agreement.
If the sharing agreement does not continue in 2016-17, Micich will receive $187,820, the same salary she received during the 2014-15 school year.
If the School Board chooses not to offer her another contract after the two-year period, Micich must submit her retirement no later than Oct. 1, 2016, with her resignation effective June 30, 2017.
Board members did not give any further reasons during the open session of the meeting as to why they were offering Micich a shortened contract.
After the meeting, Dodd said the decision was reached after extended discussion but declined to comment if the board was pleased with Micich’s work as superintendent.
"I can't comment on performance, but it is not a performance-based decision," said Dodd, who spoke on behalf the School Board per district policy.
Iowa law allows School Boards to keep that information private — and contained to closed session discussion — when it involves an employee's professional competency.
He noted under Micich's leadership, the district has seen improvement in reading scores, graduation rates and national-level recognition for several programs.
"At the end of the day, the board's obligation is to the district," he said. "This is the best option we felt going forward with such a new board that will be seated.
"We want to give them every option as we move forward."
Normally a superintendent's contract is in place by June 30, but Dodd said the board wanted to do a thorough job exploring alternative contracts and consulting with the district's attorney.
While the new contract does not preclude the board from continuing to contract Micich, Dodd said it does not obligate it to do so.
Following the meeting, Micich said she is "really proud" of the work she's done during her last seven years at Mason City, and noted her salary is in line with the required workload and what other similarly-sized districts offer.
"I'm hopeful the new board will value my work into the future," she said.
Micich — who says she enjoys her job and hasn't hinted at when she plans to retire — had presented a three-year career plan to School Board members.
"It was not my intent to have my contract cut short a year," she said.
Micich's contract, which is for 260 days both years, also includes:
• Thirty vacation days and 17 sick days annually, which can be carried over and, for vacation time, reimbursed upon termination;
• A $37,750 non-elective contribution to Micich's tax-sheltered annuity each fiscal year;
• A $333 monthly vehicle allowance;
• Single health and dental insurance paid by the district;
• A $500,000 life insurance policy provided by the district;
• Up to $1,000 for professional membership dues;
• Early retirement benefits following nine years of service, including 25 percent of her base salary plus the service incentive stated in the plan.
Board members also approved updates to the 2015-16 superintendent sharing agreement with Clear Lake, which included salary increase and sharing costs 50-50 that jointly benefit the districts, such as conferences or professional development.
The districts previously shared those costs 60-40, with Mason City covering the larger share.