Contract comparison: Understanding the superintendent position

Published 3:06 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Recently hired Prince Edward County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson’s contract varies only slightly from that of her predecessor, former Superintendent Dr. David Smith.

According to School Board Clerk Melanie Adams, the superintendent’s contract is negotiated between the school board and the superintendent.

Dr. Barbara Johnson

Dr. Barbara Johnson

Dr. David Smith

Dr. David Smith

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Johnson began working as superintendent in July. According to her contract, her annual salary will be $120,000 for her initial year, ending June 30. As stated in the contract, the school board can amend the contract, adjusting Johnson’s annual salary for any subsequent fiscal year during the term of the agreement. Any adjustments in subsequent years will be in writing and added to the contract as an amendment, according to the contract.

The current agreement lasts four years.

Dr. David Smith, Johnson’s predecessor, earned an annual salary of $116,559, as a part of his final contract as superintendent. His final term ran from Sept. 5, 2012, until June 30 of this year.

“The board didn’t look that much about what the initial (annual) salary was,” former school board Chairman Russell Dove said. “It was looking at the total compensation package. Her total compensation package (is) less than his.”

In addition to annual salaries, both Johnson’s and Smith’s contracts allowed for annuities, travel and phone reimbursements.

In Johnson’s case, the school board agreed she should receive a $15,000 contribution to an annuity or deferred compensation plan, as a part of her discretionary payout. In addition, $6,000 is contributed each year for Virginia Retirement Systems (VRS). Beginning in July, the superintendent is allowed to draw the amount in equal installments to invest in her selected plan.

As a part of the discretionary payout, she also receives a stipend of $700 each month for business-related travel using her personal transportation, as outlined by the contract.

She receives $125 each month for cell phone service. The contract states she must make her contact information available to the board.

Smith’s contract allocated for similar discretionary payouts, with the main difference being in the travel stipend, where Smith received $800 per month versus Johnson’s $700.

In Smith’s most recent contract, he also received a supplemental degree stipend. According to the Prince Edward Public Schools Approved Teacher Salary Schedule for 2016-2017, the supplemental salary for a doctoral degree is $3,808. This price is set throughout the district regardless of whether the recipient is a teacher or administrator.

The board decided not to award Johnson the doctoral degree stipend for her initial contract, according to Dove, who said that is a standard decision in regard to degree stipends.

Dove said the decision to begin awarding stipends for advanced degrees began as a way to encourage teachers and administrators to continue getting training.

In addition to monetary benefits, the superintendent, as described in both contracts, receives a total of 15 annual days off and 15 days sick leave. He or she also is provided with VRS group term life insurance along with a membership in the American Association of School Administrators.

Johnson’s contract will be due for renewal at least six months prior to the end of her contract.