Marysville schools to pay outgoing Berg through April

MARYSVILLE – The Marysville School Board has agreed to a separation pact with outgoing superintendent Becky Berg, who had served the district for five years.

It decided to pay her until April 30, 2019, for a number of reasons.

•They wanted to be fair to her since she resigned for medical reasons beyond her control.

•They wanted to be good stewards of taxpayer money.

•She had accumulated sick leave and vacation through mid-November of this year.

•Her salary through next year was already in the budget.

•By ending it April 30 money budgeted for her could go to give interim superintendent Jason Thompson a bump in pay.

•Even with all of that the cost is still less than Berg’s annual salary in the $200,000 a year range.

•The deputy superintendent post that was held by Thompson will remain unfilled.

Ironically, the board just extended Berg’s contact until 2020 a few months back, during time she was out recovering from brain tumor surgery. She had hoped to return to work in March. “Everybody heals differently,” school board director Pete Lundberg said Wednesday.

But she decided later in the spring not to return.

In other board news:

Lori Knudson, executive director of K-12 schools, gave the school board an update on Every Student Succeeds Act expectations, which have replaced No Child Left Behind. Knudson said previously principals had to do many plans. “Principals were spending more time planning than in the classroom,” she said. The new process is a continuous improvement cycle of Plan-Do-Study-Act. They plan how to solve a problem, they do it, they study how it worked and they change to make it work better. The steps are repeated time and time again. The plans wanted in the first 100 days of school need to be “meaningful, manageable and measurable.”

•Latoya Morris, director of Child Nutrition Services, presented a check for $5,000 to the Marysville Food Bank on behalf of Sodexo, the company that provides food for the MSD.

•Jason Thompson, interim superintendent, said the Washington State Patrol inspected the district’s buses and found they passed with flying colors. School board member Chris Nation said is quite an accomplishment, to receive top marks especially considering how old some of the buses are.

•Thompson also recognized board members Nation, Lundberg and Tom Albright for winning leadership awards from the state directors’ association.

•Lundberg read a list of $41,500 in donations given to the district for the month.

•Finance director Mike Sullivan said the state overstated money it would give to districts so he’s still working on a budget proposal. He said revenue and costs are both off. But he also said the district is nearing its goal set a few years ago of having a fund balance of 8 percent. Lundberg recalled Wednesday that some thought that wouldn’t be possible in such a short amount of time. “I’m really proud” that the school board pushed district administrators to accomplish that goal, he said.

•Morris, speaking on Sodexo’s program this year, said breakfasts were up 61,000, but lunches were down 35,000. She said some of that had to do with enrollment being down, absenteeism being up and because kids only go to school for a half-day on Fridays. Changes for next year include a So Happy App to place an order and Marysville-Pilchuck students helping form a Taste 4 menu at that school.

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