The BOE unanimously approved the decision after some discussion over whether to adjust the current base rate of $120,000.
Board member Tracey Allen suggested they raise the salary to attract a higher quality candidate and also compete with other schools systems in the area, like Alexander City and Lee County, that are currently conducting searches.
“I don’t want to overshoot, but I don’t want to shoot ourselves in the foot either and keep from getting some good candidates,” Allen said.
Board member Skip Smithwick initially agreed and made a motion for a $125,000 salary plus negotiations, but President Jennie McGhee said they can always adjust the salary listed on the job posting depending on the candidate if they do not want to be locked into a higher rate.
Board member Steve Marlowe agreed and said the rate of pay will ultimately depend on many factors including education and experience.
“That is just the base salary,” Marlowe said. “Our total compensation right now is about $132,000, so you’ve got other things that factor in.”
According to a list of comparable school systems compiled by the BOE, the average salary for a system the size of Sylacauga is about $123,000. Talladega City’s superintendent position pays $125,000, Marlowe said. He said some salary listings could also be misleading depending on the amount of additional pay the position provides.
“If you get somebody early in their career, the salary is not going to be as significant, because they’ve got the total compensation,” he said. “If you get somebody in the twilight of their career, they would rather have it in the salary for the retirement system information, so some of these numbers could be skewed because they just put it all in salary.”
Board member Scott Stewart said the current pay rate is reasonable and should not be a major issue for an applicant.
“What the superintendent is getting paid now looks to be consistent with a school system that is performing as well as ours,” Stewart said. “There are things we can do on the incentive side, but I don’t see a few thousand dollars discouraging someone from wanting the job one way or the other. When you put those words (about negotiations) in it, they’re going to know there’s more money on the table.”
Smithwick eventually made the motion for the approved salary.
The job posting is expected to be available starting today on the Alabama Association of School Boards website at www.alabamaschoolboards.org.
Allen also inquired about filling the assistant superintendent position that has been vacant for several years. CFO Lisa Dickerson said it is not currently a budgeted expense, but they could pull from other areas to create funds for the position, which previously paid about $91,000. Allen said some redistribution of duties will be necessary if there is no assistant superintendent.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board approved a one-time supplement of $250 each to four bookkeepers, accounts payable clerk, payroll clerk and CFO for receiving Alabama Association of School Business Officials certification.
The next regular board meeting is March 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Office.
Contact Emily Adams at email@example.com.