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(File Photo)

School board discusses superintendent’s contract, announces three personnel changes

MADISON — At their Feb. 7 meeting, the Madison City Board of Education presented an extended contract for Superintendent Robby Parker, which will raise his annual salary. With the raise, Parker will earn a base salary of $168,000 with a 2.5-percent raise each year.

Board member Connie Spears said Parker has not had a raise in his time as superintendent.

According to Board President Ranae Bartlett, the board chose to extend Parker’s contract now to provide for more stability moving forward with growth-related changes.

“We’re about to make some key personnel action decisions in the spring,” Bartlett said. “Mr. Parker, in his role as superintendent, also has to work with business leaders, our construction manager and architect in making key decisions about where we might build a school and make those types of recommendations to the board. We thought that it would be appropriate for us to go ahead and look at extending his contract now instead of waiting until June so that we could establish that stability for the future.”

Tim Holtcamp, vice president of the board, said they chose to secure Parker for a three-year term with this contract. He and board member Luis Ferrer also surveyed some individuals in the private sector to work out a car allowance for Parker. “We wanted to make sure that if we were offering a car allowance that it was equitably done in a level that is suited to his position,” Holtcamp said.

Board members Spears and Travis Cummings examined the best raise to give Parker in the new contract. Spears said she compared Parker’s current salary to that of other superintendents in school systems comparable in size or location to Madison City Schools.

Parker currently ranks no. 30 in the state for superintendents’ salaries. MCS’ teacher salary ranks no. 9 in the state, according to Spears. His raise would reflect a similar percentage to the teachers’ raises. Spears said the contract shows an automatic 2.5-percent raise each year. If Parker gets his doctorate, it will raise another $7,000.

“I think it’s a fair step forward,” Holtcamp said. “Mr. Parker’s done a great job. … We are a growing district with massive expectations, a brilliant community, and that comes with a lot of weight. … It’s a complex business. It’s a complex organization. It’s a complex educational environment.”

“Just coming in, I can see the amount of work that’s put into making this school system great, and it’s not just Mr. Parker, it’s the entire staff,” Cummings added. “… It’s just an amazing opportunity to see how this system functions behind the scenes, and it is amazing. Whatever he gets, he definitely deserves.”

Bartlett added that the school systems they compare themselves to pay their staff more, largely because they have a local tax base that supports more. “Where we live, this is the local support we have at this time, and we try to give as much as we can and be competitive, but the outstanding performance of this school system and the happiness that the board has with your service and the transition you’ve made into the superintendent position, we, I think, easily can approve this type of raise and incorporate a 2.5-percent raise each year,” Bartlett told Parker.

Before accepting his new contract, Parker said that in his heart, he is “still a schoolteacher.” Though becoming superintendent was never his initial goal, he said he feels that everyone in Madison City Schools has been called to their respective positions at this time.

“I’m very thankful,” he said. “The Lord has blessed me … To sit up here in front of you, I’m honored. I really am … I feel like it’s our time, guys—all of you sitting out here. I do feel that way—it’s our time. It’s our responsibility because (past superintendents) Dee Fowler and Henry Clark set us up, and the reason we’re ‘A’ schools today is because of them (and the students). We all have a hand in it, too … but they gave their life to this place. Now, it’s our time, and I believe the Lord has called us for these positions.”

In addition to approving Parker’s new contract at the meeting, the board approved all other items still on the Actions Items agenda. This included the affinity card program agreement with Redstone Federal Credit Union and a Blackboard Classroom agreement discussed at the Jan. 24 meeting, as well as the December 2018 financial and bank reconciliation statements and the December 2018 budget amendment.

All consent agenda items passed as well, which included the following in addition to the previous meeting’s minutes:

  • the 2019-2020 curriculum catalogs for secondary schools
  • 2019 STEM adventure and summer camps at Rainbow Elementary School
  • agreements with HITS, LLC and Bulls Baseball for an indoor practice facility for baseball and softball teams at James Clemens High School from Jan. 7 – April 30, 2019
  • LEA school make-up day request for relief from a make-up day for the Jan. 29 school cancellation

Parker announced that Lt. Col. Randy Herd (retired), will also soon be retired from his position as Senior Aerospace Science Instructor for AFJROTC at Bob Jones High School.

“We were better because of Col. Herd,” Parker said. “What a fine man. What a great job he’s done.”

Parker also announced that three people will take on new roles with Madison City Schools. Carol Bohatch, currently a grant administrator and science specialist, will soon become the federal programs specialist with MCS. Kristen Gist will transition from teaching at Liberty Middle School to counseling at James Clemens High School. The board hired Thomas Paone to be MCS’ new coordinator of technology infrastructure.

Paone has worked for several years with the City of Huntsville as a systems technician and system administrator. He lives in Madison with his wife and son, a second-grader who attends Columbia Elementary.

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