Board OKs new contract, $16K raise for SPPS Superintendent Gothard

The St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) superintendent has received a three-year contract extension with a nice pay raise.

Tuesday night, the SPPS Board of Education voted 7-0 to approve the extension, which will start July 1, 2023, and includes a $16,000 raise for Superintendent Joe Gothard in the first year.

Gothard joined the district in 2017 and received strong marks for his recent performance from the board. In particular, the board touted his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and the three-day teachers’ strike in March 2020.

“I want to focus on working in the present to shape the future of Saint Paul Public Schools,” board chairman Jim Vue said in a statement.

Vice Chair Jessica Kopp added, “There is belief within this Board in the ability of the Superintendent to lead Saint Paul Public Schools into a bright and beautiful future.”

Under the terms of his new deal, Gothard’s salary will jump to $256,000 in the first year of the new deal, up from $240,000 this year. The contract then has built-in raises of just under 2% for each subsequent year, giving Gothard a base salary of $261,120 in 2024-25 and $266,342 in 2025-26.

Additionally, the deal calls for a supplemental salary equal to his pension payments to the St. Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association, which will be worth nearly $20,000 per year over his three-year extension. On top of that, the district will pay $10,000 per year to a supplemental retirement plan for Gothard, along with an additional percentage of his base salary each year that he’ll only receive if he’s still with the district when his extension expires on June 30, 2026. At 5%, 7% and 10% of his base salary each respective year, that fund will be worth nearly $58,000 in 2026.

Gothard’s contract also says he can receive salary bumps each year if the board deems his performance at least “satisfactory.”

Factoring in all of those details, plus 20 days of vacation, a $9,600 per year expense allowance and a $9,000 match a 403(b) retirement plan, and Gothard is set to make well over $300,000 per year to lead the state’s second-largest district.

“I want to thank the Board of Education and the Saint Paul community at large for placing their trust in me to lead our district in achieving equitable outcomes for all students,” Gothard said in a statement. “I am counting on everyone to continue to hold me accountable over the next three years.”