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Hettinger school superintendent resigns

HETTINGER — With only a month before school starts, Hettinger’s school district is without a superintendent.

After two years in the position, Hettinger Public Schools Superintendent Adam Hill resigned from his position at a school board meeting on Wednesday night.

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In a phone interview, Hill said school board members were unwilling to give him a raise.

He felt his salary lagged behind other superintendents in the region. Hill declined to say how large a raise he was seeking from the district.

“It’s time for a change for my family, time to move to a different area,” Hill said.

School district business manager Heather Ebert said Hill’s base annual salary was $73,000.

According to the most recent Educational Research Survey of superintendents in the 2010-11 school year, top school administrators made an average of $162,000 annually.

Board President Rhonda Knutson said Hill’s departure will be challenging for the district. But a team of teachers and administrators will take over his duties before another superintendent is hired, she said.

Contract negotiations between Hill and board members Scott Mattis and Knutson began in mid-May.

Knutson said Hill’s benefits package was worth 58.99 percent of his salary, or about $43,000.

The school board agreed during the 2013-14 school year to increase payments into employee retirement funds by 4 percent, instead of pay raises in the 2014-15 school year, Knutson said.

All teachers and administrators had the same language in their contracts, Knutson added, so Hill would have been the only one to receive a raise.

“The board did not feel that we should set precedence by allowing a change for one staff member that was not allowed for the rest,” she said.

Hill said he is actively applying for superintendent jobs in larger school districts in North Dakota. He approached his resignation with some regret.

“Hettinger’s been a very nice home for us,” Hill said. “There are a lot of good people in Hettinger we’re going to miss.”

Hill has worked in Hettinger Public Schools for 12 years — five as a teacher, another five as the high school’s principal and as the boys basketball coach.

Mattis said he wants to see the school district carry on as normal, even after Hill has left.

“Stranger things have happened,” he said.

In addition to accepting Hill’s resignation, the board officially confirmed Greg Johnson as Hettinger’s new high school principal.

School begins in Hettinger on Aug. 19.