Sequim School District investigations ongoing

Officials expect conclusions to be reached in January

SEQUIM — Sequim School District officials anticipate the investigations into complaints concerning two administrators will be concluded by mid-January and records will be available for disclosure by the end of January.

Also, the school board has approved a salary scale for administrators.

The district has denied release of documents regarding separate complaints that led to Superintendent Rob Clark and Sequim High School Principal Shawn Langston being on leave since October.

In denying the public records request field by the Sequim Gazette, the district cited RCW 42.56.250 that says “employment and licensing information is exempt from public inspection and copying” of, in section 6 of that code, “investigative records compiled by an employing agency in connection with an investigation of a possible unfair practice under chapter 49.60 RCW or of a possible violation of other federal, state, or local laws or an employing agency’s internal policies prohibiting discrimination or harassment in employment.

Records are exempt in their entirety while the investigation is active and ongoing.

“After the agency has notified the complaining employee of the outcome of the investigation, the records may be disclosed only if the names of complainants, other accusers, and witnesses are redacted, unless a complainant, other accuser, or witness has consented to the disclosure of his or her name.”

Clark was placed on leave Oct. 22, while Langston was placed on leave the following day.

Acting Sequim schools Superintendent Jane Pryne said in late October the incidents are separate and have not involved law enforcement.

Both complaint investigations are being handled internally through the district’s human resources department as well as risk management staff, Pryne said.

The Washington Schools Risk Management Pool provides insurance coverage and services to Washington state public schools.

Salary scale

School board directors on Monday unanimously approved a salary scale for administrators at each of its schools.

Darlene Apeland, the district’s Director of Business Operations & Finance, said the salary scale was based on a survey of what other districts of similar size were paying, along with teacher salaries in the Sequim district.

“This is where (salaries) should be, and it is sustainable,” she said Monday.

The scale establishes a base salary for principals and assistant principals at each school along with increases for career longevity at five-year intervals.

The new salary scale pays about $128,000 in base salary for elementary school principals, about $131,000 for the lead middle school administrator and $138,000 for high school principal and learning support services executive director positions.

Base salaries increase by 1 percent every five years, up to a maximum of 6 percent for 30 years experience.

The plans also sets similar base salaries and increases for assistant principals at each building.

The administrator contracts include 12 holiday days, 25 vacation days, five personal days and 218 work days (20 of which may be worked remotely or on days not typically considered work days) out of a 260-day calendar.

That’s a rise from 207 work days, according to Sequim School District staff.

The structured salary scale, district officials said, eliminates the need for annual salary negotiations and is more reflective of the days administrators actually work.

District officials noted in previous meetings that Sequim administrators did not receive salary increases in two of the past four years.

Staff brought the administrator salary scale proposal to board members in early November, but the issue was tabled until Monday before final approval.

“I appreciate the grace and patience to the board as we spent some time; we definitely needed an opportunity to look (at this proposal),” board director Jim Stoffer said.

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