Kentucky Auditor, Education Commissioner Urge Transparency in Superintendent Contracts

School superintendent contracts, benefit packages and evaluations would be available to the public online under recommendations supported by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and state Auditor Adam Edelen.

Edelen’s office has uncovered abuse of power at multiple school districts in recent months.

“When you conduct four investigations, in three of which you find significant failings in which the people who were charged with administering school districts were to varying degrees enriching themselves at the expense of their children, clearly it calls for new safeguards in place to make sure that this kind of abuse can’t and is less likely to occur anywhere,” Edelen said.

Local school boards made up of elected members are in charge of hiring superintendents, but education officials say many are left in the dark about fiscal matters. Holliday says stricter requirements will be required for annual evaluations and school board training.

Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton joined the superintendents from Mason County and Dayton Independent in supporting new transparency recommendations. After uncovering cases of fiscal neglect at a handful of districts, Edelen suggested that information relating to school superintendent compensation, benefits, and yearly evaluations be posted online.

Hiren Desai, of the Kentucky Department of Education says school boards will also receive training on best practices for developing superintendent contracts.

“There are a lot of districts who have good templates, but as you know there are a lot of districts who don’t have any templates. They write contracts, as we found through these audits, on napkins and paper towels. So we’re going to stop that practice,” Desai said.

Officials say the more information that’s made public, the better administrators and elected representatives can be held accountable.

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