Sunday, May 27, 2018
Education

Opening offer for Hernando superintendent choice: $101,000

BROOKSVILLE — The initial salary offer to the woman in line to become Hernando's next superintendent of schools would make her the highest-paid employee in the district — but only by about $200.

Lori Romano, chosen by the School Board on March 14 by a 3-2 vote, would make an annual salary of $101,000, according to a copy of the proposed contract.

The next highest? Assistant superintendent of teaching and learning Ken Pritz, who makes $100,797, according to the district.

Romano's contract is now under negotiation.

In a letter to Romano's lawyer, School Board attorney Dennis Alfonso said he hopes to have a tentative contract ready for School Board consideration on May 7.

Romano did not return a call from the Times seeking comment.

Romano's current position as the director of adult, secondary and virtual education programs with the Martin County school district pays her a base salary of $95,765, according to the district. She makes an additional $3,600 annually for having a doctorate.

Hernando's salary offer is quite a bit lower than retiring superintendent Bryan Blavatt, who makes $130,000 annually.

There is a big reason:

Romano would come into the job with no experience as a superintendent.

Before coming to Hernando, Blavatt was a superintendent in Boone County, Ky., for 12 years, a position that paid $160,000.

Blavatt's contract in Hernando also includes a number of perks that aren't found in the proposed contract for Romano.

• Blavatt receives a $500 monthly car allowance. Romano's proposed contract makes no mention of a car allowance.

• His contract also included a $5,000 one-time relocation cost. That's not in Romano's offer.

• Blavatt has received $2,000 annually for participation in the Florida Superintendent Certification Program. That item is not listed in Romano's contract.

Both contracts include membership dues for the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

Another item of interest in Romano's proposed contract: the no-nepotism clause.

Last month, School Board members were sharply divided on whether to place the language in the contract. Eventually, a majority decided to include it.

The proposed contract states that Romano "will not recommend any family member for employment with the Hernando County School Board and that the board will not consider a family member for employment."

That's the same policy that is in Blavatt's contract.

Romano, 41, would begin July 1 if she and the School Board are able to agree to terms. Her initial contract would run for two years, with the possibility of being extended for a third year based on a performance evaluation and the desires of Romano and the board.

If the board decided to terminate Romano with cause, she would waive any right to severance payment, according to the contract.

She would also have to agree to pay up to $25,000 for the next superintendent search as well as for other damages resulting from the turnover and transition to a new administration. In addition, the board may withhold any accumulated sick time or vacation, the contract states.

Romano would be required to notify the board in writing before making any effort to seek other employment.

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

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