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Pinellas superintendent says he needs no raise to stay through 2012-13 school year

LARGO — Pinellas County superintendent John Stewart said he doesn't need any more pay.

Hired in September as an interim leader in the wake of Julie Janssen's termination, Stewart on Tuesday told board members he is willing to stay on through the 2012-13 school year and doesn't need a raise to do it.

Board member Carol Cook last month said she wanted to explore entering negotiations with Stewart to keep him in Pinellas through the 2013 school year.

Stewart, 68, called his service with the district "the highlight of my career." And while he said he's still willing to staying through 2013, he prefers to stick with the contract he signed at the outset: drawing $12,000 a month — or $144,000 year — for a period of time that isn't prescribed.

"I truly have enjoyed my tenure here and I want to continue just like we are," he said.

Janssen made $203,000 a year before she was terminated.

Stewart came to the district after his 2009 retirement as executive director of the Florida High School Athletic Association. He led the Polk County school district for 13 years until 1996 and later spent three years working as a deputy superintendent in Pinellas under Howard Hinesley.

Two months after Stewart assumed Janssen's position, the board decided to drop the word "interim" from his title, saying they were impressed with the job he was doing.

Should the board keep him through July 2013, it allows them to hire a new leader in time for the start of a new school year.

Board members said Tuesday they still plan to seek a permanent superintendent in time for the 2013-14 school year, but need to discuss a timeline for a formal search.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8707.

Pinellas superintendent says he needs no raise to stay through 2012-13 school year 02/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:01pm]
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