District 203 Board of Education approves contract extentions for Benway and Bickel

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School Board of Education approved five year contract extensions for both principal Rich Bickel and superintendent Darcy Benway, effective July 1, 2019, during their October board meeting.

Under the terms of the contracts, salaries for both administrators – $185,658 for Benway and $154,462 for Bickel – would be frozen for the first few years, and then increase in the final years of their contracts.

Darcy Benway

In the fourth year of Benway’s contract, her salary will increase to $191,227 and to $196,963 in her final year of contract. In the fifth year of her contract, Benway will be 58.

In the third year of Bickel’s contract, his salary will increase to $159,095, in the fourth year to $163,867 and in his final year to $168,783. In the final year of Bickel’s contract he will be 56.

Rich Bickel

During the October 18 meeting, Bickel confirmed that he plans on submitting a letter of intention to retire before his contract would expire but did not specify when that would take place.

Before the majority of the District 203 board approved Benway’s five year contract, Board Member Laura Jacobi-VanHook said that she had an issue with the length and verbiage of a consolidation clause in the contract.

The consolidation clause in Benway’s contract stipulates that if school consolidation takes place and Benway is not picked as superintendent of a consolidated district, the school board would pay her two years compensation in a lump sum after her last paycheck: “In the event of consolidation of the School District, the Parties hereby agree that should the Superintendent not be selected and hired by the newly consolidated school district as the Superintendent of Schools, the Board shall pay to the Superintendent two years of 100 percent of the aggregate compensation and fringe benefits as set forth in the Agreement as severance pay payable after her last regular paycheck. Said amount shall be calculated using the last contract year prior to the consolidation,” the contract states.

Jacobi-VanHook said of the consolidation clause, “that bothers me.”

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