Superintendent to receive $89,000

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Moffat County Board of Education President Phil Hastings said Thursday that the $89,000 salary to be paid new school Superintendent Pete Bergmann is comparable to other school districts that are similar in size.

"We looked at surrounding school districts comparable in size to ours and looked at years of experience," Hastings said. "We also used past contracts as guidelines in the negotiation."

Bergmann signed a contract last week that will pay him $89,000 a year.

Bergmann, previously the district's curriculum director, had been serving as interim superintendent since the departure of former superintendent Duane Wrightson last summer.

Hastings, along with board member Gary Ellgen, negotiated the contract with Bergmann.

Bergmann said the negotiations went well.

"They went smooth," he said. "It was a collaborative discussion about what my perceived job would be."

Bergmann signed on to a two-year term that will conclude June 30, 2004.

The duties outlined in Bergmann's contract include:

Providing the board of education with an annual budget and periodic financial reports.

Re-organizing and arranging the administrative and instructional staff.

Setting the agenda of the school board meetings in conjunction with the board president.

Deciding on the selection, termination, placement and transfer of personnel.

Listening to criticisms, complaints and suggestions passed on from the public through the school board.

The decision to offer Bergmann the job at the end of February cut short a superintendent search that was supposed to extend into April.

At the time Bergmann was interviewed for the job, the district had received 16 applications for the position.

Hastings said he had no regrets about ending the search and offering Bergmann the job.

"I'm happy with how we handled it," Hastings said. "We worked diligently and looked at applicants from across the country and chose the best candidate available."

One of the responsibilities immediately cast upon Bergmann is the hiring of an assistant superintendent for the school district and a principal at East Elementary School to replace Guy Gladden, who recently turned in his resignation.

"Right now those issues are on the front burner," Bergmann said. "We've already screened applications for the job at East Elementary and have it narrowed down to about a half dozen."

The district has 30 inquiries and eight applications for the assistant superintendent job, Bergmann said.

A definite job description is not yet in place for the assistant superintendent's position.

"What I hope to do is take a look at the strengths of who we choose to hire and balance those strengths with mine," Bergmann said. "We will then develop the job description based on what the district needs."

The assistant superintendent position will replace the curriculum director position held by Bergmann under Wrightson.

"The difference is this will be a more diverse and comprehensive position," Bergmann said. "This position will carry more responsibility than just curriculum and staff development."

Hastings said in the near future Bergmann would have to consider renovations and possible replacement of Moffat County school buildings.

"We've been pretty tight over the years in money used for building upkeep," he said. "We are going to have to take a hard look at that. Things get old and repairs need to be done."

Bergmann agreed there is a need to improve school buildings.

"All the buildings in the district are more than 20 years old," he said. "Basically we have not had the money to sustain quality maintenance in the past. We have to somehow balance the building needs with education needs. It's an important issue that needs to be addressed."

Bergmann said another goal he has is to maintain open communication between the school district and the public.

"We are going to continue to be user friendly to the public and continue to reach out to the community," he said.

Hastings said he is confident in the board's selection.

"The board's happy with the individual we have in place," he said. "We think he'll do a great job."

Bergmann has been with the Moffat County School District since 1977 when he started as a science teacher at Moffat County High School.

Bergmann will head a district that consists of eight schools and approximately 2,500 students. It has an annual operating budget of $16 million.

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