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School board to address superintendent’s $80,000 sick leave payout, hiring consultants for trustee team building and new district leader


The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees is meeting Tuesday, Nov. 23 for its regularly scheduled meeting. The board plans to consider hiring consultants to look for a replacement superintendent and another consultant so “Trustees can compromise to work better as a team,” the meeting’s agenda notes.

The board allocated $60,000 for a search firm to replace Superintendent Kristen McNeill, who announced she will retire in 2022. Four firms will present to the board starting at noon.

Also to be discussed is a possible $80,000 payout to McNeill for unused sick time. School staff said the payout is normal.

“It is recommended that the Board of Trustees approve payment in the amount of twenty-five percent (25%) of her unused balance as of the date of retirement. This is also consistent with other Superintendents who have received a sick leave payoff at separation, regardless of the reason for separation,” a staff report noted. 

Previous superintendents received the following payouts: 

  • Traci Davis – employment contract specified the number of days to be paid out versus a percentage (30.5 days paid)
  • Pedro Martinez –25% of accrued but unused sick balance (47 days paid)
  • Heath Morrison – 50% of accrued but unused sick balance (27.75 days paid)
  • Paul Dugan – 25% of accrued but unused sick balance (62.5 days paid)

Other agenda items include hiring shortages, COVID-19 mitigation updates and approving a cost-of-living pay increase for school police. 

An arbitrator sided with the school police union to grant officers a 2.8% increase. School officials, citing in part declining student enrollment and the massive Incline Village property tax settlement, said it could only give them a 1% increase.

The arbitrator disagreed.

“While the District’s financial situation is not robust, the General Fund is financially healthy enough to fund a modest [cost of living adjustment] and a lump sum payment to police officers, sergeants and the detective…” the arbitrator said.

Watch the meeting online: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChHIK-aa3yh6Z4EHo1Zntwg

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.