Rochester Schools to pay Clarke severance

The severance package for outgoing Rochester Community Schools Superintendent Fred Clarke could cost the district up to $180,934 if he doesn’t find another job soon.

On Monday, the board of education formally accepted Clarke’s resignation and appointed Tresa Zumsteg, Ph. D. as Interim Superintendent. Under Clarke’s severance agreement, he will be paid for 35 vacation days and will receive severance pay equivalent to the amount of salary he would have been paid if he had remained employed under his current contract until December 31.

That totals $94,391, including mandatory Social Security and retirement contributions. The district will also pay for health insurance through June 30 at a cost of $10,796, or until Clarke obtains new employment and is eligible for health insurance with his new employer, whichever happens first.

On Sept. 6, Clarke was one of two finalists who had second interviews with the board of education of the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District. Since announcing his plan to leave Rochester this summer, he has interviewed with at least two other districts.

If he doesn’t secure a new job by December 31, Clarke will be paid an additional severance of $75,747, which includes two-thirds of the salary he would have been paid if he had remained employed under his current contract until June 30, 2013, along with the mandatory Social Security and retirement contributions.

Terms of Zumsteg’s contract were also released. For the balance of 2012, she will be paid $900 per scheduled work day. In 2013, she will receive $650 per day. She will not receive any benefits. The contract ends next June. She will also receive travel reimbursement, mileage and housing expenses. A former resident of the district, Zumsteg now lives in Bradenton, Florida. (Editor’s note: A previous story indicated she still lived in the district.)

“Student learning and achievement is the Board’s first and most important priority,” said board president Jennifer Berwick. “Having an interim superintendent who can devote all of her time to the day-to-day operations of the district will provide stability for our employees and allow the board to focus its attention on finding the best person to lead Rochester Community Schools.”

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