The Olentangy school board last week approved a contract with its new superintendent, Wade Lucas.

The Olentangy school board last week approved a contract with its new superintendent, Wade Lucas.

The board approved a four-year, four-month and nine-day contract beginning on March 23, 2009, and ending on July 31, 2013, a press release said.

Lucas' annual salary will be $160,000 per year.

Lucas, 48, had been superintendent of Green Local Schools in Green, Ohio, in Summit County. He was hired in December, succeeding superintendent Scott Davis, who resigned in April 2008.

Lucas' contract includes the following compensation and benefits:

Term life insurance of $300,000; a car and cell phone allowance of $750 per month the first year; medical, dental and other group health insurance.

Twenty-five paid vacation days of which 10 can be sold back to the board at a daily rate of $876; three personal days and 11 paid holidays.

For purposes of retirement, a tax-sheltered annuity of 10 percent of his earnings the first year, increasing by 1 percent per year; the state-required board-paid 14 percent of earnings for the State Teachers' Retirement System (STRS) as well as the 10 percent that the state requires the employees to pay.

An educational stipend of $5,500 the first year and increasing by $500 each year after.

Up to $11,000 in moving expenses for Lucas and his family; up to $30,000 if his house in Green, Ohio, sells for less than 95 percent of the appraised value.

Although Lucas will only receive four months pay for the 2008-2009 school year, the district's attorney, Greg Scott, presented the board the number $196,225, which calculates to what the 12-month compensation would be, he told ThisWeek.

That amount includes Lucas' $160,000 base salary, $5,500 education stipend, $750 per month car and cell phone compensation and $21,725 pick up, district spokesperson Amanda Morris said. Lucas also will get $17,760 in annuity for the first year of his contract, but in the contract he does not receive it until the second year, she said. With the annuity, the total would be $213,985.

The majority of the board voted to approve the contract. Member Jennifer Smith, however, asked for a separate vote on each benefit and she voted "no" on 10 points of the contract and voted "no" on the contract as a whole.

Smith also sent an e-mail to the media, saying that the board's total compensation cost of $196,225 is too low.

"To calculate the total compensation of the first full year of the contract, you would have to add all contract terms of compensation for the 2009-2010 school year. This figure is $245,204 if he does not sell back his 10 allowable vacation days ($7,945) or take his annuity as a lump sum, also allowable per the contract ($17,760 annuity as lump sum counts as compensation for which STRS (25 percent) has to be paid ($4,440), for a total of $22,200)," she said in her e-mail.

"If he does sell back the 10 vacation days and takes the annuity as a lump sum, the first full year of compensation is $275,349 ($245,204 + $7945 + $22,200)," Smith wrote.

Morris said the "message from Ms. Smith is entirely her opinion and is not official district information."

Morris said other board members did not know what information Smith included in her calculations because Smith did not share that information with them.

BOE president Julie Wagner Feasel said Smith's information included errors because "her annual salary figures are wrong." The salary figure is used to determine other compensation such as what the board pays for Lucas toward the State Teachers Retirement System and his annuity.

"The majority of the board voted for this contract because we want to attract, hire and retain high-quality educators who share the same focus that we do. ... I firmly believe that Olentangy has found itself an excellent educator and leader. I can't tell you how excited I am to welcome Dr. Lucas into our district," Feasel said.

To determine Lucas' contract, the board looked at former superintendent Davis' contract as well as contracts for superintendents from Dublin, New Albany, Westerville, Worthington, Upper Arlington and Bexley, said Feasel.

Lucas is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the district from academics to operations - including 19 schools, 142 buses, 1,688 full-time equivalent staff members - of which 963 are certified staff - and 13,999 students, Morris said.

The district continues to grow, she said.

Lucas, who said he's been coming to the district one day a week, meeting staff and community members, said he looks forward to being in the district full time.

"It's a fantastic opportunity and I appreciate the potential of Olentangy is unlimited," he said. "I'm going to focus on the positive and that's not to say there aren't issues that need to be worked on."

The full details of Lucas' contract are available under the Jan. 20 meeting "Exhibits" link at