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2/16/2012 8:05:00 AM
School districts would have to post details of superintendent contracts

Eric Bradner, Evansville Courier & Press Indianapolis bureau

INDIANAPOLIS — A measure picking up steam in the Indiana General Assembly would require school boards to post all the financial details of superintendents' contracts before voting on them.

The state Senate Education and Career Development Committee heard only positive feedback Wednesday when the panel took public testimony on legislation that has been stripped down to focus solely on superintendent contract transparency.

It's an effort to make sure sometimes-creative steps included in contracts to boost superintendents' compensation by increasing pension payouts and adding benefits, are revealed before the contract is finalized.

"My goal is to make sure we have public disclosure — that the public knows before a contract is signed, so they know exactly what level of compensation this person's receiving," the author, House Education Committee Chairman Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, told the committee.

A recent analysis by The Courier & Press of contracts for the superintendents of 275 of Indiana's 289 public school corporations turned up examples across the state of school boards providing superintendents with generous benefits to keep published salaries low.

Originally, House Bill 1205 included several other provisions that drew opposition from the lobbying organizations representing Indiana superintendents and school boards.

But Behning amended those items out after his House committee meeting, and Wednesday's Senate committee meeting was the first opportunity for public testimony. No one spoke against the bill.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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