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BISD Details emerge on Frossard’s exit

May 19, 2019

What was presented as the retirement of Beaumont ISD’s superintendent earlier this year will end up costing the district a year of salary and benefits and result in the payment of two superintendents for about three months.

But school board president A.B. Bernard says the agreement reached with departing Superintendent John Frossard will ultimately save the district two additional years of salary and benefits that it could have been forced to pay.

Early this year, the board began to have conversations with Frossard about his plans to relocate his family to his eventual retirement city. The superintendent said he wanted to begin the transition early so that his son could begin and graduate from the same high school.

Bernard said the board determined having a partial commuter in charge was not ideal.

“I think once we discussed that possibility, it was my view of the situation, along with the rest of the board, that traveling back and forth and having that extra concern on his mind would not be to the advantage of the district,” Bernard said. “That’s been the Board of Managers’ position on other employees as well — that commuters don’t work out as well as we’d like.”

Frossard said in a written statement Friday that his intent was to remain in Beaumont to complete the final three-plus years of his contract but visit his family during holidays, vacations and “some weekends.”

Bernard declined to say where Frossard was planning to relocate his family. Frossard’s statement did not say.

Because of the board’s concerns, Frossard said, he agreed to settle his contract for “significantly less than the fully guaranteed contract amount, even though retiring early would also greatly decrease my lifetime retirement benefits.”

Frossard was hired in April 2015 by the state-appointed Board of Managers. He was charged with improving the district’s financial foundation, addressing the district’s “accredited probation” status, hiring and retaining high-performing teachers and administrators and preparing for a future school district trustee election.

Frossard’s employment contract originally said the district would be responsible to pay “the entire value of all salary, medical and health benefits, automobile allowance, supplemental payments to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, contributions to the Supplemental Retirement Plan and the purchase of TRS out-of-state service credit” for the remainder of the contract should the superintendent be terminated for convenience or without “good cause.”

Bernard said the district agreed on one year’s salary and benefits and the reimbursement for his purchase of three years of retirement service credit, instead of the salary and benefits for the time remaining on his contract.

Beaumont ISD declined on Friday to produce documents revealing the final total amount Frossard will be paid. The Enterprise immediately filed a formal public-information request.

Frossard’s employment contract lists his salary as $249,000 a year.

“When originally hired, (Frossard) accepted the position only after the board agreed to fully guarantee his contract for all years of salary and benefits,” Bernard said, noting the “volatile” situation Frossard was hired into.

Since Shannon Allen, the lone finalist for the superintendent position, took over recently, Frossard has been assisting with the transition, Bernard said.

Frossard also is expected to help with preparing the upcoming budget, Bernard said.

He added that Frossard had made an “extended effort” to mentor and groom Allen for a “long time.”

kaitlin.bain@beaumontenterprise.com

twitter.com/KaitlinBain

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