Recently-elected Jeffco School Board president Ron Mitchell has some ‘splaining to do. Records uncovered by Complete Colorado show that Mitchell has been taking jobs as a substitute administrator or principal while he’s also been receiving PERA retirement payments.
Here are some quick calculations. The average principal salary was $110,000, but let’s assume he was friendly with the former superintendent and was making $115,000. That means he could be eligible for as much as $6,000 per month retirement, or $72,000 per year. It’s not a bad sum, particularly if not raising children. Here’s Complete‘s breakdown of some of his contracts:
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 23rdand 24th, at a per diem rate of $355.
But, it’s not just that Mitchell is turning into a six-figure sub that is concerning. It’s that he’s been gaming the system for years. On top of the sums he receives from PERA while working as a sub, the school district also again pays his PERA contribution for him as a contract employee. Hey, Peak management, we’re still waiting for our 401K match.
What Mitchell is doing, by exploiting some loophole, may be legal (or not, we have no idea), but it’s not right. The extra $20,000 to $30,000 he siphoned off of the school district’s budget could have gone to pay teachers or toward another project. Jeffco taxpayers should remember this when the district claims it has no money, same with the legislature.