Thu, Jul 25, 2024
DCPS counters superintendent’s compensation proposal with $70K less in yearly pay, no monthly car stipend

DCPS counters superintendent’s compensation proposal with $70K less in yearly pay, no monthly car stipend

  • PublishedJune 6, 2024

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After backlash over the high salary and perks sought by incoming Duval County superintendent Dr. Chris Bernier, the Duval County School Board has come back with a counteroffer.

The board’s offer, which is significantly less than the offer first put forward by Bernier, comes after his initial proposal garnered strong reactions from the teachers union president and the public.

In his first pay proposal, which is part of ongoing negotiations, Bernier asked for a $350,000 per year salary, the maximum advertised for the job, a $1,000 monthly car stipend, up to $50,000 a year for a paid mentor and monthly retirement contributions equivalent to 25% of his monthly base salary, which would equal $87,500 a year.

MORE: ‘Ridiculous’: Teachers union leader blasts ‘excessive’ compensation requests by new Duval superintendent

In the board’s counterproposal, obtained by News4JAX on Thursday, it is offering Bernier a $280,000 annual salary, but the added perks of a car stipend, money for a mentor, and a massive monthly retirement contribution were not included. The district’s off is less than the $300,000 a year the last superintendent, Dr. Diana Greene, was making.

The proposed contract by Bernier also included a performance bonus which would net him $30,000 for a rating of “highly effective” or $25,000 for “effective” that Bernier could distribute to his cabinet members at his discretion.

According to the board’s proposal, Bernier would be eligible for up to $20,000 in bonus pay if he meets goals set out by the school board each year.

The board said Bernier is allowed to use a district vehicle or get reimbursement for mileage on his car, but the distinct vehicle can’t be used for personal use.

The board said it would also pay $15,000 per year into a voluntary retirement account for Bernier and he can participate in the Florida retirement system like everyone else in the district.

The board also said it would reimburse Bernier for moving expenses from Lee County as well as his temporary living expenses, up to $15,000, which is what Bernier proposed in his pitch to the district.

Tammie Brooks-Evans, president of the local union Duval Teachers United, said she thought the perks Bernier first sought were ridiculous. On Thursday, News4JAX asked her about the district’s offer.

“Parts of the offer are more of what we would expect. [I] have concerns about the amount of life insurance and the double retirement that he would be receiving,” Brooks-Evans said.

The district offered $750,000 in life insurance, which was less than the $900,000 received by the previous superintendent.

“This is kind of how negotiations go. You come in high, they come in low and you end up someplace in the middle,” Brooks-Evans said.

Bernier would officially start on the date the contract is signed until June 2028, with the possibility of an extension.

Bernier was unanimously approved by the board as the next superintendent last month, but his compensation package has not been settled.

News4JAX was flooded with comments after details of the first contract proposal were first reported on Tuesday.

There were more than 220 comments on and close to 700 comments on Instagram, where one account posted, “What if actually we raised the salary for teachers and school staff instead.”

The pay negotiations come as the district faces financial difficulties due to rising construction costs, aging infrastructure, and dropping enrollment in the face of expanded school choice options.

Copyright 2024 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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