Acadia superintendent takes salary cut, gets triple vacation time at higher pay rate

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-12 17:14:50-05

Acadia Parish School System Superintendent John Bourque took a salary cut worth tens of thousands of dollars in his most recent two-year contract, but his paid vacation allotment — which allows for a cash payout if unused — more than tripled to 50 days a year, according to the superintendent’s contract agreements.

The new contract, which includes a base salary of $168,000, also stipulates that his payouts for any unused vacation time will be based on his 2015-16 salary rate. That equals $957.04 a day, said Justin Carrier, Acadia Parish School System’s chief financial officer.

A full payout of those vacation days could reach almost $48,000 in additional income for the superintendent each year.

More vacation days at higher pay rate

Bourque’s contract for 2017-18 includes a base salary of $168,000, an apparent decrease from what he made by the end of a 2013-16 contract that included annual 7 percent increases. But while Bourque’s earlier, seemingly more expensive contract allotted him 15 days of annual vacation time and payouts for any unused days, the new contract hiked the benefit to 50 vacation days, according to the documents.

Should the superintendent resign, he would still be entitled to receive unused vacation payments at the 2015-16 rate, according to the contract.

The board also "retains the right to adjust the annual salary of the Superintendent" during the contract’s term — but not to reduce it unless all employees are getting a reduction.

Superintendent salaries came under heightened public scrutiny after a Vermilion Parish teacher was removed from a school board meeting for her persistent questioning of her district superintendent’s pay raise. Her removal from that meeting led to an arrest that made national headlines.

Bourque’s compensation tops other superintendents

When KATC compiled salary figures for Acadiana-area superintendents, we found Bourque’s total compensation led all other superintendents. His compensation totaled almost $320,000 in 2016, with a base salary that reached almost $230,000 that year. The total compensation figure includes retirement and health insurance benefits; car and phone allowance; state supplemental pay; and travel, membership and conference expenses.

Bourque’s total compensation decreased to about $307,000 in the 2017 audit. Auditors reviewed the district’s finances from June 2016-July 2017 — a time frame that includes six months of Bourque’s old rate.

Justin Carrier, chief financial officer for the Acadia Parish School System, said the 2017 compensation figure also includes a June payout worth $23,926 for 25 days vacation time, although further details about the daily rate for that payout were not immediately available.

The new contract is in effect from Jan. 1, 2017-Dec. 31, 2018.

The Acadia Parish School System educates about 10,000 students.

For more on superintendent salaries throughout Acadiana and the state, click here.

Note: This article was updated to include the superintendent’s daily vacation pay rate.