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Brainerd Public Schools: District approves 3-year superintendent contract

Laine Larson

After leading the charge toward a successful bond referendum last spring, Superintendent Laine Larson earned herself another contract with the Brainerd School District.

School board members approved a 2019-22 contract for Larson during their regular board meeting Monday, June 10.

Board member Bob Nystrom read a statement on behalf of the board, praising Larson for all the work she's done in the district since starting in July 2016.

"In my opinion, she was everything we were looking for and so much more," Nystrom said. "Laine came in and provided strong leadership, willing to make tough decisions, including stabilizing our budget and funding."

Nystrom acknowledged Larson's leadership through last year's successful $205 million bond referendum and noted her dedication to students, as she attends many after-school activities.

"She's a real people person, always putting the needs of constituents before her own," Nystrom added. "This is a person who has the innate ability to communicate with anyone—students, parents, community members. It doesn't matter who it is, she wants to understand the concerns of our constituents no matter how difficult that may be."

Lastly, Nystrom noted Larson's strong work ethic, dedication to students and staff and ability to always work with a smile on her face.

"And if you haven't noticed, she never gives up on anything," Nystrom said, "never ever."

Larson's new contract runs from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022, and features the following salary structure:

• 2019-20—$178,500 (a 3% increase from 2018-19).

• 2020-21—$182,070 (a 2% increase).

• 2021-22—$185,710 (a 2% increase).

The 3% increase in 2019-20 accounts for Larson moving to a higher deductible health insurance plan with a greater out of pocket expense.

The contract states the salary may be modified during the next three years, but cannot be reduced.

Benefits include 35 days of paid vacation; 11 paid holidays; accrual of one paid sick day for every working month; medical, dental, long-term disability and life insurance benefits; a $75 monthly reimbursement for a smartphone; paid mileage for professional events when using a personal vehicle; and a $3,000 annual contribution to a retirement savings account.

Larson was grateful for the board's contract approval.

"I'm humbled, and I thank you very much for those kind words. The last three years have been incredible," she said, also thanking board members and district employees for their service and dedication to education.

"I feel blessed to work as a very small part of the most incredible team," Larson said. "I am honored to serve on behalf of this incredible district for the next three years."

Principal contracts

The board also approved an updated 2017-19 principal contract Monday, with amendments made to salaries.

District principals and assistant principals will receive retroactive pay amounting to a 1.75% increase for the 2017-18 school year and additional 1.75% increase for the 2018-19 school year.

Principals are placed on a step-based wage grid according to position (elementary, middle or high school) and years of service. The salary ranges for 2017-18 are as follows:

• High school principal—between $113,589 and $129,679.

• Middle school principal—$109,354-$125,233.

• Elementary school principal—$100,038-$113,906.

• High school assistant principal—$98,027-$111,471.

• Middle school assistant principal—$94,428-$107,978.

The 2018-19 salary ranges are as follows:

• High school principal—$115,576-$131,949.

• Middle school principal—$111,268-$127,425.

• Elementary school principal—$101,798-$115,899.

• High school assistant principal—$99,742-$113,422.

• Middle school assistant principal—$96,080-$109,868.

Theresa Bourke

I started at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and the Brainerd School District. I follow city and school board officials as they make important decisions for residents and students and decide how to spend taxpayer dollars. I look for feature story ideas among those I meet and enjoy, more than anything, helping individuals tell their stories and show what makes them unique.

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