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USC chooses Jensen for superintendent

By Staff | Apr 27, 2009

United South Central School District’s search for a new superintendent may be coming to an end.

In a unanimous show of hands Tuesday night, school board members and staff voted to offer the position to Jerry Jensen of Lake City.

“I personally feel we hired a quality candidate because we went with a part-time position instead of full-time,” says board chairperson Christie Wetzel.

Jensen was one of two finalists under consideration after the board had narrowed its list of candidates to six.

He was a superintendent in Lake City for 15 years. Before that, he spent 20 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent in the Goodhue School District.

Jensen says he’s excited about the opportunities and challenges the USC district provides.

He says he has been retired for two years and he’s ready to get back to work.

“I’ve had a chance to rejuvenate and recharge my batteries. I feel I’m ready to get back and contribute some more,” Jensen says.

His financial success in other districts, he says, may have been the reason USC officials decided to offer him the position.

Jensen says he’ll focus on getting the district out of statutory operating debt and enhancing some of the great things the district is doing.

Details of the contract must now be fine tuned.

Wetzel says the board’s personnel committee and local education association’s negotiations team will meet to determine what the base pay and benefits will be.

Currently, $79,568 has been budgeted next year for the position.

Interim Superintendent John Widvey says the maximum length the contract can be is three years, however, a one-year agreement can be offered.

“I think you are looking at this as a more permanent relationship,” says Widvey.

In the last year of his contract, former Superintendent Bob Stuerman’s total compensation was $144,000 — that included his salary, mileage, health insurance, memberships to professional organizations and other benefits.

When calculated on a per day basis, Stuerman earned $540.

Because the new superintendent will have a three-day work week, his pay will be based on 156 days annually.

If the board decides to use the $540 daily rate, Jensen’s yearly compensation would be $84,240.

“You’ll have to see if he’ll want per diem. Whether he will compute and want mileage,” Widvey told the board in explaining some of the many details that will need to be negotiated.