Bonneville superintendent to retire after upcoming school year

(UPDATED with more details about an extension to Shackett’s contract for consulting work.)

IDAHO FALLS — Longtime Bonneville School District superintendent Chuck Shackett will retire at the end of this school year.

“It’s time for new blood to move the district to even a higher level,” Shackett told Idaho Education News Tuesday.

Shackett’s two-year contract expires June 30, 2019. However, a separation agreement approved by trustees during the superintendent’s recent evaluation extends his employment as a consultant to Bonneville’s incoming superintendent until Aug. 31, 2019.

Idaho Ed News filed a request for the agreement Thursday but has not yet receive it. Shackett said his rate of pay for forthcoming consulting services reflects his current contract with the district.

Shackett makes $156,029, which ranks among the top five highest paid superintendents in the state. An extra two months of consulting work will bring him an added $26,004.33.

That’s “a lot of money,” Shackett said, “but there is legitimacy with helping in the transition.”

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The board’s decision to keep Shackett on as a consultant will also qualify him for full retirement benefits under the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho.

Shackett said he would have otherwise reached only  “99 percent” of full retirement by the regular school year’s end in 2019.

“I thought that was very nice of the district,” Shackett said.

Shackett began his education career 37 years ago in Utah, where he worked as a teacher, coach and principal. He then lead East Idaho’s Shelley School District for five years before moving to Bonneville, where he oversaw nearly two decades of rapid population growth.

From 2000 to 2018, Bonneville’s enrollment grew from 7,149 to 12,900, securing its place as East Idaho’s largest school district.

Chuck Shackett

Under Shackett’s leadership, the growth contributed to six new elementary schools and a new high school. In March, voters approved the construction of a new middle school, which workers are expected to break ground on sometime later this school year.

Weathering the boom was difficult at times, Shackett said, acknowledging periodic contention with a school board sometimes at odds over how to absorb the growth.

That contention may have played a “subconscious” role in his decision to retire, Shackett said. However, it’s “healthy to have that difference of opinion” to “compromise and come up with the best decision for all,” he added.

Despite the periodic contention, the prospect of retiring and moving on to other things mostly fueled the decision, Shackett said.

“I might start a business,” he said. “I’ve already been approached for consulting work, but want to take a break from education.”

Shackett said he hopes to round out his final year in the district by spending as much time as possible with students. He lamented not being able to do that more during his long administrative career.

“That’s why you go into education in the first place,” Shackett said.

Shackett said Bonneville trustees have asked him to help in the search for his replacement. The school board is scheduled to discuss Shackett’s separation package at a board meeting tomorrow night.

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