VCSC reaches pact with superintendent candidate

May 23—The Vigo County School Board has reached a contract agreement with the new superintendent candidate, the board said Tuesday morning at a news conference.

The base salary will be $195,000, with the start date being July 1. The initial contract is for three years.

No name has been released, although the candidate is from Indiana and has served as a superintendent and in leadership roles at large school districts, said board member Rick Burger.

The Gateway compensation package for the superintendent candidate is $253,393, which includes stipends, incentives and insurance.

As required by law, the contract has been posted on the Vigo County School Corp.'s website on the main page.

The board will conduct a public hearing on the contract and is working on setting a date; the public will be able to comment.

Seven days after that, the board will have a special business meeting to vote on the candidate.

The board and candidate reached agreement late Monday night.

As people review the contract, Board President Amy Lore said she hopes people will think about the school district as "being at a crossroads. We are choosing the direction we will go together."

The board's vision is for the district to be competitive and driven by excellence, she said.

The contract represents an effort to attract top talent "in this critical leadership role. It is also our response to a highly competitive market," Lore said.

She and Burger asked for the public's support of the compensation package.

If the community truly wants what it said it does — someone of the highest caliber, experienced, forward thinking, a relationship builder, visionary leader and community champion — "then the community needs to support a competitive compensation package," Lore said.

Said Burger, "This salary is within reason."

The district is one of the largest in the state; it has a $168 million budget; it has more than 13,000 students and 2,250 employees. It also is the second largest employer in Vigo County. The district covers 410 square miles and has 30 facilities.

Some people will say the salary is a lot. "No, it's not," Burger said.

Lore added, "The role of the superintendent is massive." She added that "it takes a very special person to want to take (the role of superintendent) on but also to have a vision for how it's going to look in the future."

She outlined the basic compensation package.

* Base salary: $195,000.

* A $2,000 stipend pending a successful evaluation.

* An incentive option that is also pending satisfactory completion of board approved goals, $10,000.

* Insurance and retirement contributions.

Those are figures the state uses in its Gateway compensation report and when totaled add up to $253,393.

"This is $10,000 higher than the previous superintendent's basic compensation package," Lore said.

She noted that last year, there was an additional delayed compensation for retirement in that basic package. The Gateway dashboard will show a higher number for the last superintendent, Rob Haworth, because the district had to do a deferred payment into that account.

Lore pointed out that $12,000 of the new superintendent package requires the new superintendent to meet specific goals.

The board has also agreed to an annual car allowance of $8,000, not included in the state's calculation of basic compensation.

The contract also indicates the superintendent will receive the same percentage base salary increase, if any, as provided teachers, after the 2023-24 school year.

Burger described the superintendent candidate as having "character, heart, accountability. ... He has proven leadership."

He "understands the challenges we have," Burger said. "He's excited and ready to be on the team and help (the district) move forward."

According to Lore, other candidates "talked about building trust, and I felt like we saw him build trust with us in a 90-minute interview. I was completely amazed by that."

Lore was asked about when the superintendent candidate's name will be released.

"That's something we have to discuss with the candidate and get all the legal stuff taken care of and boxes checked. We want to make sure this contract is voted in," Lore said.

She said, "We are trying to follow the law. We are trying to follow best practices and we're trying to honor our candidate."

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue