SAN DIEGO — Sharon Rogers, wife of Vincennes skipper Will Rogers III, has told administrators of La Jolla Country Day School that their contract offer seeking her return to the classroom is "completely inadequate" and, instead, is demanding immediate reinstatement as a fourth-grade teacher, The Times learned Thursday.
School administrators have not allowed Rogers to teach on the campus since March 10, when her van exploded as she drove to work. The bombing is under investigation by federal authorities to determine whether it was a terrorist bombing in retaliation for her husband's order to the crew of the guided missile cruiser to shoot down an Iranian jetliner last summer. The jetliner was believed to be an Iranian military plane.
In a six-page counterproposal to the private school's offer, Rogers also insists that she receive five-years' pay if she is removed from the school beginning next September, because administrators cannot assure the safety of the campus.
One source said that because Rogers has been a teacher at the school for 12 years, and the faculty salary range is from $20,000 to $40,000 a year, the five-year compensation could go as high as $200,000.
Rogers and her husband are being guarded by military police at an undisclosed location. She could not be reached for comment.
The Times first learned of the contents of the counterproposal--given to school trustees on Tuesday--from a source within the school administration. Later Thursday, a copy of the written counterproposal was obtained from a source outside the school.
Rogers was dismissed from the school shortly after the van explosion. Her counterproposal comes in response to two separate contracts recently offered her by school administrators.
One contract would allow Rogers back on campus if a "substantial" assurance of safety could be provided by the FBI, the Naval Investigative Service and San Diego police. The second would permit her to return "at the discretion of the headmaster."
"The two alternative teacher agreements . . . are completely inadequate," says the counterproposal, which was signed by Rogers' attorney. Patrick Shea. "Mrs. Rogers' present contract clearly identifies her as a full-time fourth-grade teacher . . . how she sees herself professionally.
"The proposed new agreements do not even preserve her for that position. In fact, it is impossible to determine from the agreements what exact position she would hold. . . . This tortured attempt to define around the problem misses the point and is, in itself, somewhat dishonest."
Shea said the counterproposal all but means that she has rejected the two contracts. However a source at the school said he did not interpret the counterproposal as a flat rejection.
"Legally, they have not been rejected," said the source, who asked not to be identified. "She still has them and could sign them."
The source also indicated that it might be difficult for the school to accept her counterproposal. He said the salary plan, which he described as a "buy-out," could be seen as unfair to the 66 other teachers who routinely sign one-year contracts and work at the pleasure of the headmaster.
Shea denied that Rogers was proposing the plan as a way of punishing the school.
"It's not a buy-out," he said.