School Law Bulletin #2000/06

Critical Choices in Superintendents’ Contracts

Saturday, April 1, 2000

A SUPERINTENDENT’S CONTRACT should be judged by more than simply how favorable its provisions are. It should reflect careful choices of what issues are to be ad- dressed in the contract and which are to be left to infor- mal resolution or other processes. The contract should be sufficiently clear to avoid confusion but not be un- necessarily rigid. And perhaps most importantly, it should reflect an effective model of governance in the relationship crafted between the superintendent and board.

The North Carolina Association of School Admin- istrators (NCASA) has not recommended the standard- ization of a model contract. NCASA recognizes the wide diversity of boards and the communities they serve, as well as the varied interests of superintendents, all of which come into play in developing a contractual rela- tionship. This article is intended to help explain the vari- ous options that can be considered in the course of negotiating a superintendent’s contract. Sixteen different items are discussed (for easier reference, see the numeri- cal listing of topics sidebar). The presentation begins with a descriptive summary of each option, followed by general discussions of negotiation issues and legal stan- dards and concluding with sample provisions related to the issue. The presentation should enable the reader to search for information on certain sample provisions and not necessarily read the article from beginning to end. Not every potentially important provision is addressed, but the critical choices of and opportunities for boards and superintendents are highlighted.

Unless otherwise noted, the sample provisions were taken from contracts on file with the Department of Public Instruction in January 2000 or in updated contracts provided upon request. They were selected because they illustrate certain choices made with regard to the substantive issues addressed here. Some sample provisions are better crafted than others.

Download (pdf, 199.30 KB)
Public Officials - Local and State Government Roles