Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Former Ottawa superintendent receiving full salary of $10,899 per month and benefits

March 6, 2013


The former superintendent of the Ottawa school district will continue receiving his full salary and employee benefits for the next eight months, according to a separation agreement he signed with the district last week.

Dean Katt, who had been superintendent in Ottawa since 2006, resigned Friday, March 1. District officials said at the time that he would remain employed as a "consultant" through Oct. 31. but they did not provide any further details of the arrangement.

However, a copy of the separation agreement he signed with the district was obtained by the Journal-World under a Kansas Open Records Act request.

At the time Katt resigned, officials said his salary was $130,786 per year. According to that agreement, Katt will continue receiving a monthly salary at that rate, which is $10,899 per month. The district will also continue making its share of contributions toward his employee health insurance, life and disability insurance and his Kansas Public Employees Retirement System benefits.

The agreement states that Katt will remain an employee of the district as a consultant, but only one specific duty is mentioned:

"Mr. Katt agrees that during his continued employment with the District he will make himself available to testify in litigation as to his knowledge and involvement regarding the roofing work performed by the Manning Company on a School District building."

According to documents on the Ottawa school district website, the Ottawa school board received a presentation in September 2009 about critical roofing conditions on several of the district's buildings.

In addition to his salary and benefits, Katt will be paid $6,287.88 for unused, accrued vacation and personal days.

He will also be allowed to keep his district-issued cellphone, laptop and iPad, but will have to remove all school district information from them and will be responsible for obtaining his own telephone and Internet service plan.

The agreement also specifies that the only evaluations in Katt's personnel file will be those that were approved by the school board up to and including Jan. 31, 2012. Both parties have agreed not to denigrate each other, either orally or in writing, and to release each other from any further liability regarding his employment.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa school board has named Assistant Superintendent Brian Kraus as interim superintendent while the district searches for a permanent replacement.


avarom 5 years, 3 months ago

Yep...Here King, Here they close some schools...just to compensate his salary, benefits, pension, life insurance, vacation pay,and some other types of pay we aren't aware of.

Kent Noble 5 years, 3 months ago

Hell of a nice contract the man signed. Doesn't look like he will be needing Umemployment Benefits for awhile.

Frank A Janzen 5 years, 3 months ago

There is obviously some information that is missing about why he resigned.

irvan moore 5 years, 3 months ago

good grief, the schoolboard that signed off on that sure didn't care about the taxpayers

Jeff Kilgore 5 years, 3 months ago

While I think this decision is unwise, let's think about scale. Ten thousand a month? Compare that to a Wall Street CEO whose "consulting" might cost shareholders that much per day. I hope those who are critical of this educational CEO will reflect on the differences of scale, something that fewer and fewer adults seem to be able to do.

Chris Phillips 5 years, 3 months ago

Keep in mind that although on "scale" this is a lesser amount to be paying an individual, the Wall Street industries that pay their "consulting fees" such outrageous amounts, they are earning much more money and can afford to pay those fees. School Districts by far have much less money to work with and cannot afford such uncalled for expenditures. When someone leaves...STOP PAYING THEM!!!

Jeff Kilgore 5 years, 3 months ago

"Scale," indeed, but your profit argument ignores the long list of companies that, through extravagant wages and benefit packages to its "leaders" led to bankruptcies. Ottawa schools are in no danger of bankruptcy.

I only hope that your CAPITAL LETTERS worked when Wall Street's banisters ripped off tens of billions instead of tens of thousands.

Bob Forer 5 years, 3 months ago

Your "scale" argument is a major fail. There are profound differences between a public school district and a private, for-profit corporation. The two entities are too dissimilar to properly draw any type of analogy.

Anthony Mall 5 years, 3 months ago

This is no different than govt. employees with months of sick time saved up and get paid for months before they officially retire... Taxpayers are funding much worse things other than thus guys package deal, trust me...

George_Braziller 5 years, 3 months ago

I resigned after 22 years working at the same place and had more than 800 hours of sick leave but wasn't paid for any of it and THAT was the balance after I had given away a few hundred hours to the shared leave program.

Grump 5 years, 3 months ago

That does not happen with state employees.

George_Braziller 5 years, 3 months ago

Should have spent my time as a state employee. He's going to be pulling down in four months as much as a "consultant" as I was making in a year working 50 hours a week as an assistant director, CFO, Director of Operations, trying to oversee five departments with 14 employees, and monitor and write grants.

somebodynew 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, I disagree reality_check. The situation you describe is what an employee EARNED and saved up - this is just paying him to not show up for work.

My only question is just why did he suddenly quit.?? Well, 2 questions - what does he have on them that they agreed to all of this ??

parrothead8 5 years, 3 months ago

They could hire two teachers for the next year for what they're going to pay this guy in the next eight months, but I'm sure what he does is much more important for the students of the Ottawa school district.

Jeff Kilgore 5 years, 3 months ago

Well said. I'm a teacher, and this is the best of all arguments.

rgh 5 years, 3 months ago

In other words the district did not have quite enough to terminate the contract outright and Mr. Katt had the district by the gonads. Either pay him his salary to stay on or potentially pay his salary plus what ever he got in a potential lawsuit vs the district. Sounds like he did a lot of unethical things but nothing the district could outright prove.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

That pretty well sums it up. Ottawa will probably never fully know the reasons for this rather expensive termination.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 3 months ago

Snatch the pebble out of my hand Grasshopper.

If you wish the truth, ask these questions. Is his life insurance cash out which can give an X super tens of thousands of bucks when cashing it in before he hits room temp. . Not the life insurance the poor sucker teachers and support staff receive.

These policies are often so deceitful, many board members are afraid to mention them. Often hidden in insurance costs.

No mention of his spouse benefits. They are often the hidden sucker punch.

Thirdly, but not the least, does the super get to keep his car, car allowance, second car, and allowance?

Mark Hopkins 5 years, 3 months ago

I believe this is a major problem in how it relates to the school funding issue. Maybe there should be a little more money for teachers staff and teaching materials and less for administration.

Mark Hopkins 5 years, 3 months ago

I believe this is a major problem in how it relates to the school funding issue. Maybe there should be a little more money for teachers, staff, and teaching materials and less for administration.

Lenette Hamm 5 years, 3 months ago

Criminal, considering that some families live on less than that PER YEAR!!!

skinny 5 years, 3 months ago

That's why you go to school and get a degree! If you aren't willing to work for it what'd ya expect??? You people crack me up!!

repaste 5 years, 3 months ago

That is the kicker-he is not working for it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

What do you mean? He might have to spend a few hours testifying in court, and think of the headaches he's got ahead of him finding a new wireless provider for his cell phone and iPad and an internet provider for his laptop? And it'll take at least a couple of hours to remove all the school related content from these items. Oh, the horror!!!

sleepy33 5 years, 3 months ago

I went to school and have two degrees. When do I start earning my $130k per year?

texburgh 5 years, 3 months ago

And yet three other Kansas superintendents, the president elect of the Kansas Association of School Boards, and a KASB lawyer just today told the legislature they needed to gut teacher collective bargaining so schools could operate more efficiently.

Bob Forer 5 years, 3 months ago

So in other words, in return for ten grand a month Mr. Katt "will make himself available to testify in litigation as to his knowledge and involvement regarding the roofing work performed by the Manning Company on a School District building."

Odd, but a good old fashioned subpoena accompanied by a ten dollar witness fee and so many cents per mile for travel would have secured Mr. Katt's testimony for a fraction of the cost, and without exposing the School Board to clever arguments from opposing counsel that Mr. Katt's testimony is "bought and paid for", and therefore not credible.

IMHO, the school board's attorney who drew up this agreement appears to be lacking in basic legal skills and insight. typically possessed by a second year law student. I wonder how much he charged the taxpayers for drawing up such an ill-conceived agreement?

bad_dog 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, the fee does make for a more cooperative witness for the school district and one more likely to stay within range of the Court's subpoena powers.

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years, 3 months ago

Wow, I guess I know how I will be filling out the survey for the Ottawa School District that I got in the mail now. The survey asks about new and updated buildings, equipment and materials.

Beth Bird 5 years, 3 months ago

I live in Ottawa and this disgusts me! Ottawa is a poor district to begin with this and is totally unacceptable.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 3 months ago

And the Lawrence School Board wants a blank check in the form of a bond for $92.5 million with no accountibility.

Robert Sailler 5 years, 3 months ago

$130,000 would pay for THREE teachers' salaries for a year. Three new teachers could be hired to reduce class size in the elementary schools and provide a better education for young students. This is an example of what Brownback was talking about when he said not enough money the state provides reaches the classroom. I'm guessing the Board will have a different composition after the next election, provided there are people running against incumbents.

texburgh 5 years, 3 months ago

Once again, this is what happens when school boards and superintendents have the "flexibility" to make their own deals and do things quickly. They complain that they have to negotiate teacher contracts but prove with administrator contracts that they can't think long term and then that they are incapable to managing an evaluation. They are dumping 13 months worth of evidence from this man's personnel file. What do you want to bet he winds up as superintendent in another school district within a year? People complain about teacher "tenure." All Kansas teachers have is the right to be told why they are being fired and a chance for a hearing on the facts if they ask for it. The school boards association and the superintendents want you to believe it is too expensive to fire a teacher. Really? But it's not too expensive to fire a superintendent? This one will cost taxpayers well over $100,000. There's almost $95,000 in cash and then all the cost of health benefits, disability insurance, and retirement contributions. They even give him a cell phone, laptop, and iPad! And yet the school boards need to get rid of collective bargaining. When Kansas teachers have bargained such compensation increases over the last five years that the average salary has gone up by about 1/10th of 1%. And the problem is the teachers' union?! NO! The problem is the kansas association of school boards - look into this - you will most likely find that KASB model contract language was the foundation of this guy's contract and that a KASB attorney was the one who negotiated the exit.

dru442 5 years, 3 months ago

He is getting as much pay as an Army General, but with no responsiblities. Excellent job in getting that done!

Reuben Turner 5 years, 3 months ago

well i be.... I need to have a contract like that.. nice pay

Commenting has been disabled for this item.