New contract for St. Paul schools superintendent Gothard would increase salary, benefits by $58,640 next year

Superintendent Joe Gothard’s salary and retirement compensation would jump by 23 percent next year under a new three-year contract on the St. Paul school board’s Tuesday night agenda.

The contract, which would be Gothard’s third since he was hired in 2017, includes built-in annual raises for the first time, plus escalating incentives to keep him from leaving for another job.

His base salary would be $256,000 next year, up from $240,000. But a new clause in the contract would pay him an extra $19,840 in salary on top of that – an amount equal to the employee-paid portion of the district’s pension plan, which will be 7.75 percent of his base salary.

The district’s annual contribution to Gothard’s 403(b) retirement plan would increase by $10,000 next year, to $19,000.

There’s also a new longevity incentive that would fund a supplemental retirement plan, which Gothard gets only if he’s still on the job when the contract expires after the 2025-26 school year. It would be worth 5 percent of his base salary next year, or $12,800, then 7 and 10 percent in the next two years.

His expense account of $9,600 per year is unchanged.

All told, that’s $317,240 in compensation next year, which is an increase of $58,640 over this year.

With 2 percent annual salary increases and escalating retirement contributions, he’d be due to receive $328,235 in 2024-25, and then $342,218 in his ninth year as superintendent.

Not included in that calculation is the opportunity for Gothard to convert up to 20 days of unused vacation each year into cash, which was not a part of his previous contracts. It also does not include the value of health, life and disability insurance benefits.

School board members announced in August that they would seek to negotiate a new contract with Gothard, who they rated “highly effective” on his latest performance review.

Gothard, 51, previously was superintendent of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district.

Comparable to Minnetonka

Last school year, Gothard’s $240,000 salary ranked second in the state among school district superintendents, according to data kept by the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board.

Only Minnetonka, the state’s 13th-largest school district, with about one-third as many students as St. Paul, paid more for its superintendent, Dennis Peterson. Peterson retired at the end of last year and was replaced by David Law, who had led Anoka-Hennepin, the state’s largest district.

Law’s contract with Minnetonka appears to be worth a little more than Gothard’s new one. He has a salary of $275,000 – but no annual increases – and gets $50,000 a year in retirement contributions and auto allowance. Law also could earn a performance bonus each year worth up to 20 percent of his salary.

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