Othello school superintendent contract extended

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OTHELLO — Othello School Board members have approved a contract extension for district superintendent Chris Hurst. The contract was approved at the regular board meeting Monday.

The vote was 4-0. Board member Tyson Roylance did not attend the meeting.

The previous contract was for three years, with a provision to add another year at the end of each year. “The only change we made to the contract for Dr. Hurst was that instead of being three years, it’s two years,” said board chair Rob Simmons. The board still has the option to renew the contract every year for two years.

The base salary will be $157,500, and because it was renewed through the end of 2021, Hurst received $25,000.

The money paid with the contract renewal was the subject of a question from a district patron, George Cawley. Cawley asked why Hurst received an extra payment. “It seems like we spend a lot of money and I don’t know if we’re getting our money’s worth.” Cawley said in the private sector, extra payments are an acknowledgment of above-expected performance. “I don’t believe that’s happened at the higher end of this district.”

Simmons said the $25,000 is a way to pay to pay the superintendent at a level roughly comparable to districts of similar size, and it only comes into effect when the contract is extended. If it’s not extended, that’s an indication board members are looking for new leadership, Simmons said.

“With that being said, we’re all happy with the work Dr. Hurst is doing,” Simmons said. “We know that good work is going on.”

Hurst’s salary will be unchanged from the 2018-19 school year. Because the length of the contract was changed, Simmons said, it might be necessary to change some of the wording in the contract to reflect that, which might require a special meeting.

The district live-streams regular school board meetings, but not all its special meetings. Board member Jenn Stevenson said if a special meeting is needed, it should be live-streamed.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabsinherald.com.

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