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Superintendent McPherson’s exclusive contract fringe benefit raises concerns about rising pensions

Superintendent at $418 McPherson, Dr. Shiloh Vincent, receives four hours a week, 208 hours a year, or the equivalent of more than five weeks of work, under her two-year contract extension signed in 2021.

Dr. Vincent’s contract has similar benefits to others in his administrative position:

  • Holiday leave: 20 days of paid holiday per year. Accumulated holidays exceeding 20 days not used by 30 December of the following year are lost.
  • Sick leave: 15 days paid sick leave per year. Sick days can accumulate but cannot exceed 75 days.

Among the other fringe benefits listed in the contract, such as health and life insurance, both a school-issued car and private car expense reimbursement, and cell phone and computer allowances, is this unusual addition:

Up to four hours of pay time per week to be used at the Superintendent’s discretion in communication with the Board

Giving a superintendent more than five weeks of work time raises two concerns. First, combined with sick leave and vacation, Shiloh could be away for 12 weeks. The possibility of pension increases is another issue.

The issue of rising pensions is a concern in public sector pensions, such as those for government employees, including school staff, and is defined as:

“…a practice in which City employees convert certain benefits such as unused sick time or holiday savings pay to augment their retirement benefits. There are two main factors by which pension payments are calculated: the employee’s salary, usually the higher salary, and the employee’s length of service. Increasing your pension can be done by converting saved sick pay and vacation time to increase the salary on which your pension is calculated, or by crediting saved sick and vacation time to artificially extend the length of service on which your pension is based. This practice is not illegal in most cities and states and is permitted or prohibited at the discretion of the administrators.

Dr. Vincent could conceivably use his unpaid time in lieu of sick or vacation leave and save the paid time to boost his income in his final year before retirement, upon which his retirement benefits are calculated.

We looked at superintendent contracts in the state’s largest districts; Blue Valley, Kansas City, Lawrence, Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Topeka and Wichita. No one offered the “comp time” advantage granted to Dr. Vincent.

The practice isn’t illegal in Kansas, but we asked $418 School Board Chair Ann Elliott to comment on Dr. Vincent’s deal whereby he gets more than five weeks of “comp time,” plus four weeks of vacation and three weeks’ sick leave, and the ability to use “comp time” in lieu of the other benefits on which your retirement is based.

He replied that he was unable to comment on the provisions of Dr Vincent’s contract, citing confidentiality concerns, but replied:

“Board of Education unanimously approved her contract extension in 2021”

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