By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
The USD No. 480 School Board approved the contract for incoming Superintendent Lance Stout at Monday’s regular board meeting.
Stout will receive a salary of $130,000 per year for the next two years, more than $5,000 less than current superintendent Vernon Welch.
In addition, Stout will receive 20 vacation days per year, the same he received as deputy superintendent.
Stout has been a part of USD No. 480 since becoming a seventh grade biology teacher in 1992.
He became principal of McKinley in 1998 and then became principal of South Middle School in 2000. During his four years at South, the school was recognized with several national awards for its ability to surpass AYP standards.
“I was fortunate to be a part of a great team at South,” Stout said. “Because we had such a great team, I am convinced that played a role in the consideration I was given to move to central office.”
In 2004, Stout became Deputy Superintendent, a position he continues to serve and will begin his duties as superintendent in June.
According to the Kansas Association of School Boards’ Administrator Salary Survey, “District enrollment continues to be a strong indicator of salary; the larger the district the higher the superintendent’s salary is likely to be.”
If size is an indicator of salary, Stout’s salary is low in comparison.
Liberal has 4,290 students which makes Stout’s salary the equivalent of $30.30 per student.
Seward County only other high school is Southwestern Heights which serves 707 students. Elton Argo’s salary is $114,353 or $161.74 per student.
Another Class 5A school, Hays, has 2,824 students in its district, and its superintendent is paid $150,418 per year, or $53.26 per student.
While Stout has 18 years of district experience, 12 of that as an administrator, there is no correlation to experience and salary, according to the KASB.
“There does not appear to be a strong relationship between salary and years of experience,” the report said. “Superintendents with relatively short tenure often may earn as much or more than superintendents who have been in their current job several years.”
The average salary for district Liberal’s size and larger is $184,724.
Stout’s experience in the district could be a benefit when addressing the unique challenges facing USD No. 480. Stout has seen the continual rise in Hispanics over the last 18 years and the challenges that has created, especially in meeting federal mandates.
“We have challenges,” Stout said. “I am confident with the things we recently put in place, and if we work them and track them properly, we will see tremendous results.”