Ketchikan’s school board on Thursday night approved an approximately $154,600 contract with Richard Dormer who will serve as the new principal at Ketchikan High School.  Most recently, Dormer served as principal of Petersburg’s middle and high schools for 13 years.

The board also considered a three-year contract with Ketchikan Education Association special services professionals. The board voted 3-2 to enter into executive session to discuss financial matters related to the contract. Board President Stephen Bradford and Paul Robbins, Jr. voted against.

Prior to the closed door meeting, school district business manager Katie Parrott explained how this contract differs from previous contracts. This includes changes to the salary schedule and hiring and retention bonuses. Parrott says the occupational and physical therapist and speech language pathologist positions are difficult to fill and extremely competitive. She says for several years, positions have been vacant and contractors had to be hired.

“We appreciate our contractors. We love that they’re able to step in and provide the service. But we do believe that having permanent, full-time regular staff on the ground in our community is a better model to provide these services to our students.”

Under the contract SSPK employees would be provided a retention bonus of $3,000 after two years of service, $5,000 after year five, and $7,000 after year eight. Parrott says the district is also trying to incentivize recruitment.

“Additionally, there’s a hiring bonus provision that’s been included which suggests that if there’s a position that has gone a year or more vacant and that we have not been able to recruit for those, that we can assess a hiring bonus and be able to provide that as part of our (job) posting and our recruitment for these positions.”

After the executive session, the board unanimously approved the contract.

The board also held a work session to discuss the superintendent evaluation process, board self-evaluation process and goal setting for the school board.

The board agreed to form a three-person ad hoc committee that would establish evaluation criteria for the superintendent and set the board goals for the upcoming school year. The committee will be made up of School Board Clerk-Treasurer Bridget Mattson as chair, and board members Paul Robbins, Jr. and Jordan Tabb. Recommendations will be presented at the June 22 school board meeting.