Tulsa School superintendent gets new employment contract and a bonus

Monday, July 21st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa School’s superintendent is sticking around for another three years. And Dr David Sawyer will get a $200,000 bonus to do so.

The school board unanimously approved the new contract Monday night. But the bonus became another lightning rod in the debate over teacher salaries. It was clear the Tulsa School board wanted to keep its chief executive. And they proposed $200,000 worth of incentives to do so.

School board member Cathy Newsome, "I realize that there are a lot of people that have made sacrifices but this a person that we need to keep its in the district and the entire city's best interest for us to hang onto leadership of this quality." Sawyer's base salary of $153,000 will remain the same. The superintendent will get a $200,000 bonus if he completes the full three years and continues to meet performance goals.

While the school board was in full agreement, some TPS employees were not. Margaret Payne with the Service Workers Union: "I can not see offering one an incentive package when we can't offer the whole an incentive package. We have a shortage of special ed teachers but where is the incentive to attract them?" The money for Sawyer's bonus will not come out of the district's pocket. The school board is setting up a private trust, something the superintendent insisted on. "I made it very clear to our board that I would not consider any compensation enhancement if it came from public sources."

Whether it's public or private money doesn't matter to some Tulsa teachers. They just want the same treatment when it comes to their contract negotiations. Steve Stockley, Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association: "If someone is compensated for doing their job which Dr Sawyer has done certainly it should be fair and the teachers should be compensated for doing their job and perhaps they should find some private funds for that too."

Education Research Service reports $165,000 as the national average for superintendents in districts larger than 25,000 students. Tulsa Public Schools has more than 40,000 students.