School teaches taxpayers an expensive lesson
Des Moines Superintendent Thomas Ahart has been a lightning rod during the past three years over the way Iowa’s public schools have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.Ahart announced last week that he is leaving, effective June 30. But the Des Moines school board ensured that Ahart will continue to carry that lightning rod for a little longer.His contract runs for another year, until June 30, 2023. So, you might think he is forgoing his $306,193 salary, his $7,200 annual allowance for a car and cell phone, and his $84,019 taxpayer-provided retirement annuity.But you would be wrong, wrong and wrong.Even though he will not be employed by the Des Moines schools after June 30, Ahart will still be paid every nickel, every dime and every dollar that he would have received had he chosen to work those 12 months left on his contract.This means Ahart will be paid as much to relax fulltime as he would have been paid to work fulltime.The lucrative “severance agreement” was approved by the Des Moines school board during a special board meeting two days after he announced his resignation. The meeting lasted two minutes. Yes, two minutes — and it included time to call the roll, approve the agenda and vote on the agreement.No one asked any questions.