TWO RIVERS, Wis. (AP) – A Two Rivers top school official is forgoing $170,000 worth of salary and benefits this school year as a thank you to his longtime district.
Randy Fredrikson is volunteering his services as district administrator for the Two Rivers Public School District, which has employed him for the last 26 years, according to HTR Media in Manitowoc.
That means no salary, no health or dental insurance, no retirement contributions.
“I came to Two Rivers and I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll be here three to five years,’ and here we are,” Fredrikson said. “It was good for our family, certainly the school board always treated me well. It just worked out. I thought, well, I can do this in return.”
The 58-year-old grandfather says he appreciates that the school board allowed his wife to teach in the district and stuck with him through trying times, such as a referendum for a new high school that narrowly passed in 2000.
The district has a student enrollment of 1,724 and includes a high school, middle school and two elementary schools. Fredrikson oversees 179 full-time and 70 part-time employees.
Top officials for state organizations of superintendents and school boards said none of the state’s other 420-plus district administrators are volunteering or have done anything like this in their memory.
“This is a first,” said Barry Forbes, associate executive director and staff counsel for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.
Since he’s technically retired, Fredrikson is drawing a pension from the Wisconsin Retirement System, which he would do regardless of whether he volunteered to stay with Two Rivers. The only district money involved in his position is mileage reimbursement and the membership fees for a few professional organizations.
Fredrikson works the same hours, starting around 8 a.m. most days. He gets out by 4 p.m. some days, but this time of year he typically comes home at 10 p.m. or later because he also is the varsity boys’ basketball coach. He does collect a $3,270 stipend for coaching.
Fredrikson was reluctant to discuss his arrangement when approached by a reporter, saying he didn’t want to seem like he was doing it for the recognition. School Board President Bob Bergeon said that’s a pretty typical response.
“He kind of quietly just goes about and does a lot of charitable things, noble things, and nobody knows about it,” Bergeon said.