May 08, 2002 11:00 pm

The La Grande School Board approved a one-year contract for its new superintendent Wednesday.

The contract will provide Jay Rowell a salary of $87,325.

The contract with the La Grande School District contains a clause that states if Rowell voluntarily resigns during the term of the contract to take a position in another school district, he will be required to pay 20 percent of his current salary to the La Grande district.

Rowell would not have to pay this if he leaves for reasons other than to take a position in another school district.

Rowell will succeed Dan Arriola, who will leave the district June 28 to become superintendent of the Wilder School District in Wilder, Idaho. Arriola is leaving after one year in La Grande.

Rowell's contract also states that the school district will provide a one-year contracted mentorship program. Rowell, serving in his first position as superintendent, will have two people with administrative experience as educators with whom he can consult.

One of Rowell's mentors will be Arriola. The school district will spend up to $6,000 for the mentorship program involving Rowell and Arriola. The money will reimburse Arriola and pay for such things as phone calls and travel costs.

The board approved Rowell's request Wednesday to have Arriola be his mentor, but nothing has been firmed up and discussions are continuing on that possibility.

The plan was to pay Arriola up to $6,000 for his work and expenses, and a second mentor between $1,500 and $2,000.

Rowell was a school principal in the district for four years and has been director of curriculum and personnel in the past year.

— Dick Mason