Details of superintendent’s contract extension released

MANISTEE — School officials released Thursday morning the details of the new five-year contract for Manistee Area Public Schools superintendent Ron Stoneman.

Manistee Area Public Schools superintendent Ron Stoneman is shown passing out information to the board of education at a recent meeting. Details of Stoneman's new five year contract were released on Thursday.

Manistee Area Public Schools superintendent Ron Stoneman is shown passing out information to the board of education at a recent meeting. Details of Stoneman’s new five year contract were released on Thursday.

Board president Dr. Paul Antal stated that in accordance with transparency laws, the contract will be posted on the school’s website as soon as all the involved parties sign it.

“I have not signed the document yet so there may be some delay in posting it until we all have signed it,” said Antal.

Board members voted 6-0 on Wednesday evening to accept the terms of the agreement between Stoneman and the district. Stoneman has served as the superintendent since 2015 and just completed a three-year contract with MAPS.

An ad hoc committee consiting of Antal, board members Paul Wehrmeister, Jim Thompson and business manager Howard Vaas negotiated with Stoneman on the terms of the new contract.

Antal said at the meeting that they looked at numerous factors in the process.

“We took a look at what typical schools our size are paying their superintendents, his recent evaluation and prior employment agreements we had with previous superintendents,” said Antal. “We also realized that looking back when we did hire Mr. Stoneman, we did get him at a bargain and he was willing to come to us.”

When Stoneman was hired by the board on May 13, 2015, he received a three-year contract calling for a base salary of $113,000. He also received a payment of $15,300 a year as a non-elective contribution to a 403B annuity. Stoneman also received a $600 a month car allowance.

Under the terms of the new five-year agreement, Stoneman will receive an annual base salary of $126,500 with no built in increases over the five year term. An annual annuity contribution at his present rate of $15,300 per year will continue and he will receive a $9,600 per year car allowance which is an increase of $2,400 from his previous contract.

Antal said retaining a superintendent that would keep the district moving forward is a priority of the board.

Other items to come out of the board meeting Wednesday was an update on MAPS’ efforts to renew being the chartering agent for the Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy (MGLVA). MAPS has been the authorizing agent  for MGLVA, which is a charter school, for the past five years.

The MAPS district also receives more than $450,000 in an agreement that allows them to take 3 percent of MGLVA’s per pupil funding for being the authorizing agent. MAPS also receives fund for renting space to MGLVA in the former Madison Elementary building.

The MGLVA gets its online curriculum from K-12, and Stoneman said that is one of the many focuses right now.

“What has been in the works is our attorney from the Thrun Law Firm has been working with the attorney from MGLVA on the successor agreement for K-12 with the MGLVA board,” said Stoneman. “It is our responsibility to approve that agreement before they enter into it. There are many changes and laws that need to be addressed that weren’t addressed in the first agreement five years ago.”

Stoneman said MGLVA is currently working on that successor agreement and they are also working on updating the authorizor contract with MAPS.

“Once there a draft completed we will get together and be advised by the attorney on what the K-12 agreement looks like and the authorizer one before there is an action by the board,” said Stone. “The timeline for that is it would be nice to review in April and renew by May 30, so we are set to go.”

Stoneman spent Wednesday in Lansing with other area superintendents getting updated on what possible funding is looking like both for the online schools and the regular ones. In the governor’s roll out budget there was a decrease in funding for cyber schools like MGLVA. Since MAPS receives 3 percent of that funding it would also mean a decrease in funding for them.

“There also was a recommendation for a reduction last year that did not follow through, but we will be watching this continued recommendation,” said Stoneman. “I can say it feels a little different and it might go another way this year, but it is so early now and the information we got today from the House and Senate members was very vague.”

Stoneman said K-12 schools like MAPS are presently being considered for funding increases. However, he added there is concern that some of the money from school aid funds that normally goes to K-12 schools could be earmarked for higher learning institutions.

“There is some decent money in the school aid fund, but remember they are transferring out money to higher education (colleges),” said Stoneman. “The governor’s proposal is $154 million more in state aid money to colleges than what was taken out the year before. So this could be one of the greatest sharing of the budget with higher education than we have seen before and that is very concerning.”

Stoneman said the message they received in Lansing was the overall revenues in the state were kind of stagnant and the governor talked about  money for infrastructure and some other things, while the legislators are talking about tax cuts.

“So one branch of the government is talking about tax cuts and the other side is talking about  spending money, so it is going to be another wild ride to June when we see a budget,” said Stoneman.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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