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School superintendent’s contract extended for two years

By Staff | Jun 12, 2015

School Superintendent Dr. Nancy Graham’s contract was renewed for another two years Tuesday.

The renewal was automatic as the School District of Lee County elected not to vote on the matter.

Graham’s employment contract is $185,000 a year.

Board Attorney Keith Martin told the board that the term of Graham’s employment would extend two years unless the board took action otherwise by June 15.

“The contract does not require the school board to take action, but if no action is taken the term of the contract will automatically extend to two years from the anniversary date of June 30, thereby making the contract termination date June 30, 2017,” he said. “If the board wishes not to extend the contract by two years the board must take action by June 15.”

Board member Jeanne Dozier made a motion to address Graham’s contract but it failed to garner a second. With that failed motion, the contract was extended.

“As elected constitutional officials, it is our responsibility to listen to all of our constituents,” Board Member Mary Fischer said. “Not all of our constituents use their voices.”

She said there are a large number of school district employees and staff that work in the trenches who know what is happening, the gains and work that is being done, but she did not hear any of their voices.

“I have spent the last two months listening to anyone who would talk to me and that is how I came to my decision of renewing Dr. Graham’s contract,” Fischer said. “When we have people who come wearing clothing that disparages one person. When we have people who come and say that they are here to protect children and then set such an unappropriate social example, I question that, however I still listen to what they have to say. At this point, listening to the majority and partly the silent majority, I think we made a good decision here today. Before we can direct anyone we need to have a clear consistent consensus and we need to define our goals. I hope over the next six months we will be able to come to the consensus and we will be able to see measurable improvement. I think we have work to do in building trust and respect.”

Graham’s performance incentive pay for five measurable performance goals was also discussed.

She met two of the five goals that were set, one dealing with leadership change for quality training for all administrators, and the other establishing a superintendent advisory board comprised of senior leaders of local businesses that are likely to be employers of future students.

Pamela LaRiviere made a motion to further look at goals one, two and three once they have the measurable components in place that are reliable and valid. The goals looked at reading gains, school grades, as well as district grades.

Traditionally, the district receive grades in July, Graham said of state determinations.

“We have no guarantee that will happen this year,” she added.

Graham told the board members that they gave her the opportunity to change her goals at one point in time because she knew the information would not be released in time.

“You said you would wait for me because it became very clear that the first three goals would not be met within the time given and without the information,” Graham said. “If you choose to do this great, but I chose to leave the goals online partly because I have been accused that some of my actions were based on wanting to get money for some of those goals. I wanted to get rid of that perception.”

Graham received $4,000 for meeting two of the five goals.