Board OKs school chief’s contract

Superintendent to earn $205K annually

Ken Haptonstall

School District 51 Board of Education members on Friday approved a superintendent employment contract for Ken Haptonstall, a former District 51 teacher and principal and current superintendent of Garfield County School District 16.

Haptonstall, who starts work on July 1, will earn a $205,000 annual salary, a $45,000 increase over current Superintendent Steve Schultz’s salary, plus benefits.

The agreement also includes a staggered severance package over Haptonstall’s three-year contract. After one year, Haptonstall would receive $205,000 if he is fired. After two years, his severance would be $102,500, and after three years, his severance would be $51,250.

After an executive session, board members Greg Mikolai, Paul Pitton, Doug Levinson and Vice President Tom Parrish voted to approve Haptonstall’s contract. Board President John Williams, who applied for the job and was a finalist for the position, abstained from the vote.

Levinson said board members are “very comfortable” with Haptonstall’s contract and think it’s reasonable.

“It’s a huge job and a huge responsibility, and I think that when people have that much responsibility, that (salary) is not out of the question,” he said. “When you look across the state and across the nation, the salary is not out of the range of average … I think if we want to be competitive we have to be willing to pay, and hopefully it pans out. You could pay $50,000 less, but if you don’t get a good job out of it you’ve wasted $150,000.”

Levinson said Haptonstall was the right person for the job.

“I think he’s going to be the John Elway of our draft,” he said.

Parrish said Haptonstall’s compensation matched the significance of the job.

“I understand that we live in a fiscally conservative community and I’m always aware of that. But I also know what the market is and if we want a quality superintendent to run the largest employer in the county, this is something that we have to do,” he said.


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