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Champion gets a raise

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Medford School District Superintendent Bret Champion has been given a new three-year contract by the Medford School Board.
Medford superintendent’s salary will jump to $259k for final year of new deal

The Medford School Board has praised Superintendent Bret Champion’s leadership throughout the pandemic, and now it has awarded him another stamp of approval in the form of a new, more lucrative three-year contract.

Champion’s new deal, approved by the board in a unanimous vote during its June 24 meeting, will increase his annual salary by 4% to $244,400 for the 2021-22 school year. Champion’s salary will then increase 3% to $251,732 for the 2022-23 school year and another 3% to $259,284 for the 2023-24 school year, the final year of the contract.

The contract was approved after the board delivered a favorable evaluation of Champion, who replaced Brian Shumate as superintendent in June of 2019.

Speaking to the board prior to the vote, school board member Jim Horner said Champion has earned the new deal.

“One of the things that’s very interesting and enjoyable is that in developing this the board looked at performance,” he said. “Performance, performance, performance, performance. And there was very strong evidence of very strong performance, and that is something that makes a contract easy to defend to the taxpayers, to everybody that does that. So I embrace that notion, and I have no doubt that what we’ve seen is just a start. It’s going to get better even.”

The board briefly discussed the process of drawing up a new contract before praising Champion and voting it through, with all seven board members voting yes. Board Chair Jeff Kinsella sounded off with an “oh, yes” for the last vote, which was followed with applause.

“We’re happy for us,” board Vice Chair Suzanne Messer said.

Before the vote, Messer sang Champion’s praises.

“He’s done awesome, as we all know, for the last two years in the crazy world we’ve been in,” she said.

Champion thanked the board for its approach to contract negotiations and its “willingness to take a look at kind of what does the data show and to have those conversations.”

“I am truly humbled to get to represent this team and to get to work with this board,” he added, “and so I really thank you for involving me in the process and for your kindness in this particular contract. I am truly touched, so thank you.”

The term of Champion’s newest contract began July 1 and expires June 30, 2024.

Champion’s benefits package won’t change much. His monthly travel allowance will remain $400 for district-related travel within Jackson County, he will receive a $100 per month for district-related technology usage and is entitled to 26 vacation days.

Champion’s health insurance and contributions to his pension through the Public Employees Retirement System will remain the same, but the district’s contribution to his tax-sheltered annuity account will increase by $500 a month to $1,000 per month during the 2021-22 school year then increase again by $2,000 in each of the final two years of the contract.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.