What's the rush?
Pine River-Backus voters should know that the PR-B School Board plans to offer Superintendent Bettino a healthy raise and a new two-year contract — this despite the fact that her contract does not expire until June 2014.
This would have been a done deal except one alert school board member spoke up saying that the public had not been informed, and the voters should be given a month to think over the contract proposal.
As a result, the school board agreed to delay action on Mrs. Bettino’s contract until the Oct. 21 board meeting.
While board negotiators have busied themselves putting together a contract offer for Mrs. Bettino, other employees in the district whose contracts expired months ago are in the middle of negotiations. The process for them is far from complete.
So why is Mrs. Bettino’s contract more important than other employees’ contracts? Why the rush to ratify a contract that hasn’t expired?
One board member said the board wants to keep Mrs. Bettino. What? Is she going somewhere? Isn’t this the superintendent who spent two years interviewing for positions in other districts? When her job hunt wasn’t successful, isn’t this the superintendent who hired the chairperson of the board at the time, Garney Gaffey, to build her a new home in a neighboring school district?
Bigger question: Isn’t this the superintendent who provided program direction resulting in the lowest test scores in years? What a deal! A raise and a new contract!
If it turns out that board members can’t restrain themselves and decide to go ahead and offer this new contract to Mrs. Bettino, at the very least, board member Gaffey should abstain from voting on Mrs. Bettino’s contract to avoid further conflict of interest.
Next school board meeting: Oct. 21, 6 p.m.