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Douglas school board extends superintendent’s contract

Merrie Leininger, Record-Courier staff writer

The Douglas County School Board voted to extend Superintendent Pendery Clark’s contract with no raise for one year at a closed meeting Thursday.

The board voted 6-1 to extend the contract to 2004. David Brady was the lone dissenting vote. Clark receives $92,611 annually.

“The evaluation process gave the board the opportunity to review the last year. The board recognized that change (implementation of a standards-based system) has brought about some anxiety and tensions,” said board president Don Forrester in a written statement. “There is apprehension at the sites that we will address this year; but the direction the district is heading is solid, and Dr. Clark has the support of this board to continue doing what she is doing.”

The statement also said the evaluation produced a list of topics related to competency implementation the board will address in the upcoming year through a series of school-based forums and workshops.

According to a written statement from Clark, she did not ask for a pay raise for the second year in a row because of the current budget situation and failed negotiations with teachers.

“It would not be appropriate for me to ask for a salary increase at this time. I am very appreciative of the support the board has given me to continue our efforts to raise standards and academic achievement for all students,” Clark said.

The evaluation process includes a written survey by each board member and a discussion of last year’s goals and accomplishments.

David Brady said he reviewed his previous years’ written comments and discovered what he called a “pattern that has not been addressed.”

Brady said in an interview Monday, he perceives Clark to have a “top-down management style and I’m more interested in seeing her delegate to the sites. I believe we need to develop leaders for tomorrow by allowing people to make decisions of their own at the sites and allowing them to live with the results. She thinks she provides that, but I believe that isn’t the case.”

Brady said the other board members acted more concerned about that issue in the past.

“Last year, there was more of a theme of management style issues, but they seem to have gone by the wayside,” Brady said.

However, he did give Clark credit for being the hardest-working person in the district.

Brady said his other concern with the contract extension was the district’s requirement to continue to pay Clark until 2004 if she is fired.

Brady said Clark started with a four-year contract and it has been extended by one year at every evaluation.

“If the district decided to terminate her, she could say, ‘I have three more years remaining on my contract.’ I was not in support of extending it that extra year,” Brady said.

He said the board discussed this issue, and the board and Clark agreed to pay her for two years if her contract is terminated, but Brady considered that too expensive.

Last Thursday’s meeting was held in closed session. The board then convenes in open session and announces action taken.

However, according to board secretary Pat Corbitt, no one other than Clark and the board members were present.

Agendas for the special meeting were posted by Monday as required by the Nevada Open Meeting Law, Corbitt said. She said she did not send agendas to any members of the media because she didn’t think they would receive them in time considering the Fourth of July holiday. She said she isn’t required by law to send out of the agendas to members of the media unless they sign a request form every six months and no one had done that.

Communications coordinator Maggie Allen distributed a news release of the action taken on Friday. She said she did not previously know the board was meeting because she was on vacation. Board attorney Tom Susich also said Monday he didn’t know the board met.