EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Parents in the Metro East are pressing the Edwardsville School Board for answers after learning the top school administrator is receiving 21 weeks of sick leave per year.

The contract, originally signed a year ago, had been requested under the state’s open-record law. It was then shared online and the town has been in a frenzy ever since.

“Everywhere, people are talking about it,” parent Emily Mortland said. “A lot of staffing has voiced concerns about shortages and not enough help and support; then to find out, 108 days are being used as sick days.”

Edwardsville School Board President Jill Bertles signed the employment contract on behalf of the Board of Education.

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“While we were going through and negotiating contract details and contract language, we agreed as a board; that’s something we would agree to too,” Bertles said.

According to the contract, Shelton gets 25 vacation days, four personal days and 108 paid sick days, with an extra perk.

“Any sick leave days that are not used during a contract year shall accumulate without limit,” the contract states.

School Board Vice President Terri Dalla Riva said before they agreed to anything, they reviewed roughly 20 different superintendent pay packages across Illinois, south of Chicago.

Shelton earns $195,000 a year and is eligible for raises based on the employee’s collective bargaining agreement.

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“I felt the grant of 108 sick days was an incentive for him, but not an incentive he would necessarily use fully,” Dalla Riva said. “With the sick day allotment, it is higher, but that total compensation package is less than the average of all of those together.”

The School Superintendents’ Association recently published a report on superintendent salary and benefits. Out of nearly 3,000 nationally surveyed, the majority receive 11–15 days of sick leave.

If Shelton retires from the district, he’s eligible to be paid out for 200 unused sick days at $60 a day, according to the district’s spokeswoman.

Parents in Edwardsville are puzzled at the decision and want the school board to renegotiate the terms of employment.

“I know there are so many parents out there, so many community members, that are waving the white flag, saying there’s an issue here and this needs to be addressed,” Mortland said.

The school board said the superintendent continues to check off goals set by the board.

Shelton was able to get a $100 million bond proposal passed, develop professional learning communities in the district and create the district’s first strategic plan through 2027.

Shelton was not available for an on-camera interview, according to a district spokeswoman.