Byer gets raise, contract extension
The Haines Borough school board has extended the contract of superintendent Michael Byer through 2014 and given him a 5 percent raise.
Byer’s new contract represents a two-year extension to a previous, three-year contract that was due to expire June 30, 2012. The contract will pay Byer $105,000 per year, up from $100,000.
The board evaluated Byer in June, but did so verbally to keep from having to release its details to the public, school board president Carol Kelly said this week.
The board released Byer’s numerical evaluation last year only after the Chilkat Valley News secured a legal opinion by Anchorage media attorney John McKay that a superintendent’s evaluation is a public record under Alaska law, and subject to release.
Instead of an evaluation, the board this week released a one-page statement signed by Kelly and Byer saying "the superintendent has stepped up to numerous challenges including responsible fiscal management, adopting and execution of a strategic plan, oversight and continual improvement of facilities, recognition of Mosquito Lake needs, revitalization of the vocational technical program and successful contract negotiations."
The letter lists goals for Byer that include continuation of curriculum alignment, lobbying and "continued efforts for positive relationships with the borough."
In an interview this week, Kelly said she could not remember areas in which Byer did not score 100 percent, and initially said she didn’t feel a numeric evaluation was appropriate. She then said Byer’s evaluation would be equivalent to an "A minus."
She said she still does not believe the evaluation is a public document and cited a section of state law different from one cited by the school district’s attorney last year and challenged by attorney McKay.
Byer’s new contract includes no change in benefits, Byer said this week. He explained why he wanted to stay on. "It’s a great place. It’s Haines. With a school this size and with the kind of people who rally around the school and work with kids, it’s really a joy."
He pointed to the school forensics and basketball programs as programs where residents step forward. "Up and down the line, we’ve got great people." He also cited a new program to improve reading in lower grades. "When you put your mind to do things around here, you can get things done."