Fayette BoE extends Supt. Bearden’s contract
‘Vision’ touted as board votes 5-0 for added 18 months to 2015
There was virtually no discussion to a motion made Monday night at the Fayette County Board of Education to extend Superintendent Jeff Bearden’s contract by 18 months. The contract was set to expire in January 2014. The board voted 5-0 on the measure.
Listed as “Superintendent’s Contract” on the agenda, board member Janet Smola made the motion that Bearden’s contract be extended through June 2015, effectively extending it for 18 months after the current contract expiration date. The motion also included the provision that the extension include a cost of living increase if such an increase is given to all certified school system employees.
Bearden currently gets paid a base of $153,000 a year.
The motion received a second by board member Terri Smith.
Chairman Leonard Presberg called for a discussion on the motion. Hearing none, Presberg said he hears a lot of support for Bearden in the community, adding that Bearden’s vision for the school system mirrors the message on needed changes in public education for the future coming from other areas statewide.
“I strongly support the motion to extend the superintendent’s contract and to give him the time and flexibility to continue us on this journey,” Presberg said.
Smith also commented on the motion. Agreeing with Presberg, she supported the contract extension that would give Bearden a total of three more years, including the 18-month extension, to continue his work with the school system.
The vote was 5-0, though board member Marion Key hesitated before casting her vote.
After the meeting Presberg and Smith were asked why Bearden’s contract was extended even though he was only halfway through the three-year contract period.
“To give him the security of a three-year contract. He (initially) had a three-year contract and we don’t want to lose him in December of next year. So it’s like what he started with, three years,” Smith said.
Smith continued her comment, noting that typically a superintendent’s contract runs along the lines of the fiscal year, so it made sense to have the contract end at the end of the fiscal year rather than halfway through the fiscal year that runs July through June.
Asked if the contract extension might have anything to do with the make-up of the school board potentially changing in January following the elections, Presberg said, “Given the budget and a lot of things that are distressing I think it’s important for us at this time, and given all the hard things we’re doing, to show support that we have for his vision for our system. As we move forward with the strategic plan adoption and move into the fall with probably the hardest thing a school board has to do, which is closing schools, I think the staff and the community need to know that regardless of all this hard stuff we support what he’s trying to do with this system.”