Mark Thane

Mark Thane

Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Thane is closer to having a new contract in place.

MCPS trustees discussed Tuesday night whether to amend Thane's current contract or write an entirely new one.

"I do want to avoid some of the transparency issues our predecessors faced in previous years," trustee Heidi Kendall said. "I do like your idea of the contract being rewritten, then we get it in the (board agenda) packet ... with the idea of approving it in the next board meeting when it's appropriate to do that."

Board chair Marcia Holland pointed out that there are minor changes being proposed, and rather than revising an entire contract, there could instead be amendments. The board did not take action on the proposed revisions Tuesday.

Thane is in the first year of a three-year contract that ends June 30, 2019, though it lacks language about his salary in years two and three. 

This school year, Thane is making $155,000. His proposed new contract would increase his salary by 2.2 percent next school year to $158,500. From there, it would increase another 2.5 percent to $162,500 in the 2018-2019 school year.

That's in line with certified teachers' salary increases as laid out in their collective bargaining agreement approved in May. It's something Thane mentioned during contract negotiations last year, that he wanted further raises to be on the same level as his staff.

He has also asked that his tax-sheltered annuity "be restored in increments" over the next two years, pointing out that it was reduced when his contract was settled last year. This school year, the district is contributing $15,000 to a tax-sheltered annuity. Next school year, it's proposed that that increase to $18,000, and to $21,000 in year three.

Missoula Education Association president Melanie Charlson said she believes the proposed changes are "very reasonable requests."

"I really do appreciate the amount matching what all others received in percentage increases in their next year's contracts," she said.

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Reporter for the Missoulian