School District’s Davis Gets Two-Year Contract Extension

Washoe Schools Superintendent Traci Davis. Image: Ty O’Neil.

Superintendent Traci Davis’ contract was extended Tuesday for two more years by Washoe County School District trustees, although she agreed to eliminate several benefits from her reimbursement package.

The contract takes effect July 1. Davis will earn an annual base salary of $275,514 and maintain her $800 per month vehicle allowance. With the addition of health insurance, Public Employees Retirement System of Nevada contributions, Medicare, workers compensation and other expenses, the cost to the district is $366,748. She’s also eligible for an additional 5 to 15 percent annual performance bonus.

Davis agreed to eliminate the annual automatic 5 percent longevity bonus and to accept the same cost-of-living adjustment other administrators receive. Also, she won’t get additional mileage reimbursement beyond her vehicle allowance for miles accrued outside Washoe County.

“I think when you look at what a district is, I think that some of the superintendent contracts in the past have been robust,” Davis said. “But we know we’re in a deficit model and trying to correct some things, so I only gave it up because it’s bigger than that. It’s about the kids we serve every day.”

Other benefits for Davis will be offered under terms consistent with other 12-month administrators, including maximum vacation accrual. Payouts of unused sick leave will be reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent.

Trustee Katy Simon Holland.

“In negotiating this package, we strove for consistency not only with what other superintendents in other districts of similar size earn, but also with what other public sector CEOs receive in our region,” board president Katy Simon Holland said. “We strove to create a contract that recognizes that the superintendent has a unique role and set of responsibilities and we believe this contract does that.”

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Davis was promoted from deputy superintendent to superintendent in summer 2015. Her starting salary then was equal to the starting pay of her two predecessors, Pedro Martinez and Heath Morrison. In December 2016, Davis rejected a performance bonus.

Many people who spoke during public comment implied Davis’ concessions weren’t good enough and told the board she earns too much. Some complained about the district’s high school graduation rate, even though it’s increased during Davis’ tenure.

Gwen Taylor, co-pastor of Greater Light Christian Center, told trustees there was an “underlying amount of prejudice” in the boardroom. If Davis were caucasian, Taylor said people likely wouldn’t be complaining about her salary.

Pay for Other Public Employees

Contrary to what some told trustees on Tuesday, Davis isn’t the highest paid public sector employee. However, she often endures more criticism than her counterparts.

During a Nevada Board of Regents meeting last week, Truckee Meadows Community College president Karin Hilgersom was reviewed and nobody from the public addressed the board concerning her evaluation. The following day, Regents gave her a $50,000 raise, bringing her annual base pay to $250,000. She also gets an $8,000 annual vehicle allowance and $12,000 yearly housing allowance, along with a $5,000 host account.

Kristen Averyt
Kristen Averyt. Photo: University of Colorado

Additionally, when Regents approved a $310,000 annual base salary last year for newly-hired Desert Research Institute president Kristen Averyt, nobody showed up to contest it. Averyt gets an annual vehicle allowance of $8,000 and housing allowance of $24,000. She may also earn a bonus of up to $10,000 annually for achieving fundraising target goals, her contract says.

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Nevada Wolf Pack head men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman made $766,667 last year. Add on benefits and his total compensation totaled $1,062,121, according to Transparent Nevada.

Other high profile public employee educator base salaries in 2017 (not including benefits, insurance costs, bonuses, etc.), according to Transparent Nevada, were as follows:

  • Marc Johnson, University of Nevada, Reno president, $405,380
  • Jay Norvell, Nevada Wolf Pack head football coach, $327,652
  • Doug Knuth, Nevada athletic director, $298, 688
  • Anthony Sanchez, UNLV head football coach, $291,667

On The Web:

Transparent Nevada:

Traci Davis employment agreement:$file/Proposed%20WCSD%20Superintendent%20Agreement%20-%20Version%205.0.pdf

Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 410 Articles
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.