School board approves contract for new superintendent

Published 9:08 pm Monday, June 6, 2022

Albert Lea Area Schools officially has a new superintendent, as the board voted 4-2 Monday in favor of a contract with Ron Wagner, an associate superintendent, negotiated by the school board chairman and a team.

“I just want to thank the negotiation team for working with Ron and getting the contract that I believe was strong and good for the district,” said Kim Nelson, vice chair for the board.

Board members Angie Hoffman and Jill Marin voted against the contract.

“I wanted to clarify that it’s not a mean-spirited ‘no,’” Hoffman said. “I am looking forward to getting to know Ron and will do what I can to help him be successful here.

“But the overwhelming response that I got from the community is that we’re moving too fast.”

Marin did not say why she was against it.

Board member Dave Klatt was not present for the vote.

Under the contract, which he had not signed as of the Monday evening board meeting, Wagner will earn $181,500 for the upcoming school year, $185,130 for the 2023-24 school year and a to-be-determined amount in 2024-25. He will also get 25 vacation days. And the district will match up to $5,000/year in contributions to a 403 (b). He will also be under the district’s group health plan at no cost to the employee.

The board approved a resolution that makes Medsurety LLC and Matrix Trust as health reimbursement arrangementTrustee.. According to Jennifer Walsh, executive director of finance and operations, the district’s current provider will no longer offer the service.

The board also approved a resolution to enter into a contract with iDEAL Energies. Board members saw a presentation by Rich Ragatz, the senior vice president of development at iDEAL, last month, and solar arrays will be put on Halverson Elementary School and Southwest Middle School. Walsh said the district will pay nothing for the project, and over the course of time the district should realize more savings. Over the course of 40 years, the district is anticipating savings of over half a million per building. 

According to Walsh, teachers at the schools were “very excited” about the required curriculum, which will be an online, web-based program that shows students how much energy was created daily, monthly and annually. 

Before adjourning, the board entered into closed session for labor negotiations.