Thursday, December 14, 2017
Education

Hernando school board faces contract negotiations with prospective superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — Before Lori Romano becomes the Hernando County School District's next superintendent, she and the School Board will have to come to an agreement over her contract.

And that might not be an easy task.

Romano is asking for the maximum advertised salary of $130,000, performance-based pay increases and a bevy of other benefits not included in the school district's initial offer.

The district has offered Romano an annual salary of $101,000, near the bottom of the advertised salary range. The minimum was $100,000. The offer would make her the highest-paid employee in the district, but only by about $200.

That offer didn't include perks that were included in previous superintendents' contracts, such as a monthly vehicle allowance, a relocation fee and money to participate in certain professional organizations.

School Board chairman Matt Foreman provided a brief update on the contract negotiations at the end of the board's Tuesday meeting. He expects negotiations to pick up substantially in the next few weeks and for the two groups to meet face-to-face.

"Now it's time to look at each other across the table and hammer through everything,'' he said. "I know a lot of people are nervous about the way it's going to break down but I can assure you that everyone wants to get this contract done.''

Other than the salary, one of the biggest differences between the district's offer and Romano's counteroffer is performance pay.

In Romano's proposal, she would be eligible for a 5 percent bump in base salary if she meets certain performance goals: increasing the graduation rate, increasing the number of industry certifications earned, decreasing the dropout rate and increasing the district's state school grade.

Her version of the contract would run for three years instead of two; the district is offering two, with the possibility of being extended for a third based on a performance evaluation and the desires of Romano and the board.

Romano's proposal also calls for more vacation time and a sick-leave agreement that would allow her to transfer time accumulated at her current job in Martin County before she becomes superintendent. It includes more money for membership dues with various school administration and superintendent groups, a $750-a-month vehicle stipend and $5,000 to relocate.

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