New school superintendent criteria, salary up for vote

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The school board spent quite a bit of time Tuesday night at the committee meeting discussing the proposed salary for the incoming superintendent. The discussion centered around making sure the salary was competitive with other districts of comparable size and making sure the salary was attractive enough to draw qualified candidates for the position. Comments such as, “You get what you pay for” and “We must operate within our budget” were common place.

The challenge to the school board is coming to a decision that meets both points; one, a salary package that will guarantee qualified candidates who will essentially be the voice, face, budget manager, staff manager and leader of the school district, and two, finding a candidate that is willing to work at a rate that does not put the budget in jeopardy. Natchitoches Parish is eighth in pay among 10 comparable districts in the state, but is at the top of the scale in student population.

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Pay scales range from $94,000-$160,000 in those 10 districts. Current salary for the superintendent is around $116,000 plus the annual “tax checks” and a benefits package. The advertisement for a new superintendent must contain a base salary range, excluding the tax checks and benefits.

The board finally came to a consensus of two ranges that will be voted on at the Thursday meeting. One was presented by Emile Metoyer for $120,000-130,000 and the second by Beverly Broadway for $130,000-$142,000, both numbers that will be competitive and within budget.

The process will begin with the placing of the advertisement this month. The board also had lengthy discussions on the qualifications and criteria for the new board member, the desire for qualified teachers and not compromising on quality.

The criteria and qualifications parameters will include feedback from stakeholders, including the A-Plus Coalition’s public survey. Other concerns included the timeline.

Dale Skinner’s contract is up June 30 and a new superintendent must to be in place at that time.

The school board will meet Thursday, Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. to vote on these and other issues.