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District 15 to pay former superintendent $185,000
By Kimberly Pohl | Daily Herald Staff

Dan Lukich

 

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Published: 7/7/2010 12:00 AM

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For performing zero duties during the upcoming school year for Palatine Township Elementary District 15, former Superintendent Dan Lukich will see only a slight decrease in his paycheck.

According to the separation agreement obtained Tuesday by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request, Lukich will receive $185,000 divided equally over the next 12 months - an amount just shy of the $202,000 salary called for in his employment contract.

The district withheld a letter of reference that was part of the agreement. Lukich will likely provide that to future employers. Assistant Superintendent Jim Garwood cited an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy for not releasing the letter of reference.

Meanwhile, residents of the 12,000-student district are left guessing why the school board by a 7-0 vote agreed to the separation agreement, knowing it likely will hire an interim superintendent at additional expense.

The document states it is in no way to be construed as an admission of any "liability or wrongdoing" by the board or Lukich. It includes a gag order prohibiting responses by Lukich and the board to media or public inquiries.

Under Lukich's employment agreement, the district was required to pay him for the remainder of his contract up to two times his annual compensation if it terminated his services early without cause. He had one year remaining on his contract. District officials have said there was no misconduct.

There could be some savings to District 15 should Lukich find full-time employment as an administrator with another educational institution. The $185,000 would then be reduced dollar for dollar for any new compensation earned above $23,500.

If Lukich were hired by any noneducational institution, even one of the administrator search firms that are popular employers with former superintendents, District 15 must pay him the full $185,000.

Lukich will not get his annual $6,000 automobile allowance, and the district will cease contributing to his pension through the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System and the Teacher Health Insurance Security Fund. School board member Tim Millar said that could save the district up to $65,000.

He'll be reimbursed $10,294 for 13.25 unused vacation days from the 2009-2010 school year, though he won't accumulate any vacation days in the upcoming year. The district needs to verify with TRS that he's owed 11.5 unused sick leave days so that he gets credit toward future pension payments.

The district will also keep Lukich on its health insurance plan through the end of the year.

Starting Jan. 1, 2011, Lukich will pay his own COBRA premiums.

As far as non-monetary items in the agreement, the board agrees to "reasonably cooperate" with Lukich regarding his need for information in connection to his future employment searches and application for pension benefits.

The school board tonight will interview five candidates for interim superintendent behind closed doors at a special meeting at Joseph M. Kiszka Educational Service Center, 580 N. First Bank Drive.