Education, Jefferson County, PERA, Uncategorized

Jeffco school board president promises to cut his employment ties with district

Book AppleThe new Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education President has made his first post-election promise.

“I promise you that I have not worked since last spring,” Ron Mitchell said in reference to his role as a substitute administrator. “And of course I know that I will never work as a paid employee of Jeffco again. In terms of the conflict of interest, I’m not going there. So my career as Jeffco’s consultant, firefighter, fill-in principal is over.”

Mitchell has been working for the school district on a part-time basis since he retired after 40 years with the district, mostly acting as a substitute principal when needed. His salary changes from assignment to assignment and is commensurate with the position he is filling at the time.

For instance, in September 2011, Mitchell agreed to work eight hours a day for 167 days at a rate of $338 per day as the assistant principal at Dakota Ridge High School. It was a new position in the district that he filled the first year, 2011-12. His salary averaged out to $42.25 per hour or $67, 557 per year if he were full time.

The school district also contributes to his Public Employee Retirement Account (PERA). He receives no other benefits.

While he’s drawing PERA, state laws allow him to work no more than 110 days per calendar year. So in the case of 2011, he worked approximately 80-plus days in 2011 and another 80-plus days in 2012, keeping him under the cap.

He also worked in 2012 as a substitute principal at Everitt Middle School, for two days – May 23rd and 24th, at a per diem rate of $355.

In 2013 he worked as a substitute principal for three days a week at Jefferson High School from Jan. 25 – June 12 for a per diem rate of $371.

The district did not include contracts for 2014, so it is assumed Mitchell did not work that year.

His only assignment this year was for about six weeks from April 9 – May 29 at per diem rate of $349. It was the only contract in which Amy Weber, Jefferson County Public Schools’ director of human resources, did not fully complete the paperwork. Mitchell said the contract was for a substitute principal position at Wheatridge K-8 while the full-time principal was helping facilitate the closing of the school. He said some days he acted as the principal and others he was a consultant until the Wheatridge changes were complete..

Complete Colorado also questioned Mitchell’s timing in announcing his bid for school board. When asked if he was contemplating running for office while still working in the district, Mitchell said he had no idea his role in the events that came to be would ever really happen. He said it wasn’t until well into the recall effort that his friends came forward and proposed he run for the board.

“I had no idea,” he said. “I really believed the recall would never happen.”

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