08/05/08 — Board of Education renews superintendent's contract

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Board of Education renews superintendent's contract

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on August 5, 2008 1:45 PM

The Wayne County Board of Education approved a one-year renewal of Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor's contract Monday night, including a salary increase of $22,482, bringing his annual pay up to $172,367 by a vote of 6-1.

Board member John Grantham voted against the increase.

School board member Rick Pridgen said that was the only change in the superintendent's contract.

"And the reason that was done was because in neighboring counties that have school systems of similar sizes, Taylor's salary was on the bottom of the scale," he said. "In Johnston County, it's $243,000. Wilson County has 12,000 students -- we have 19,000 -- and their superintendent's salary is right at $190,000.

"It was done to better align him with the size of the school system."

Pridgen said that this is only the second salary increase for Taylor, who is coming up on his ninth year as superintendent.

"He has had one salary increase since he has been with us, before now, and that was four years ago," Pridgen said.

He added that the salary was the only part of the contract that board members have approved. The rest of the contract stipulations have not yet been worked up, he said.

The board also approved an increase in retainer fees for board attorney H. Jack Edwards from $2,475 per month to $3,092 per month.

Grantham opposed the attorney fee increase as well.

He said that he had a problem with the percentage increase for both Taylor and Edwards.

Pridgen said that Edwards had a 10 percent increase in 2001, but that was the last time he was given a raise.

"We went by the consumer price index. ... His contract had a prevision where we could review (the retainer fees). We just had never reviewed it, and he had never asked for it to be reviewed. So we thought we should review it," Pridgen said.

Board Chairman Thelma Smith said she wanted to make Monday night's meeting about the principals and teachers at the schools, thanking them for their commitment to the district's 19,000 students and for their hard work that netted recent high marks on the No Child Left Behind AYP measurements.

"This board would like to say that we are extra proud of Wayne County teachers and staff," she said. "I wanted first to thank you for your commitment to educating our children, and second, to speak words of encouragement to you, make a wish for you and make a prayer for each of you."