Mt. Vernon superintendent to earn $135,000 on 3-year contract

FORTVILLE — Mt. Vernon’s new superintendent will be named next Tuesday; and while there was no public input at a meeting Monday regarding the contract, school board members say there is community interest.

The superintendent will replace retiring leader Bill Riggs, who has been with the district 21 years. The board is about to offer a three-year contract with a $135,000 salary to a new superintendent, which would be the second-highest superintendent salary in the county.

According to data provided by Mt. Vernon schools, Southern Hancock Superintendent Lisa Lantrip makes $150,000; Greenfield-Central Superintendent Harold Olin makes $128,000; and Eastern Hancock Superintendent Randy Harris makes $106,125.

“We went through so many years of salary freeze,” board member Michael McCarty said of why the salary would be higher than Riggs’ current $116,858 salary.

McCarty said a study was done on not just Hancock County schools but other nearby school corporations of similar size and demographics.

The new superintendent will oversee 195 teachers who educate more than 3,500 students with a general fund operating budget of roughly $17.9 million.

The $135,000 salary is enough to be competitive, McCarty said. The contract also comes with health insurance valued at nearly $19,700 and reimbursements for electronic devices and travel expenses.

While Monday’s meeting was a legal requirement to get community feedback on the proposed contract, no one from the public was present. Board members say that’s not indicative of community interest.

“Early on we had multiple meetings with a lot of people in the community — different town councils, we had a survey, different meetings in the community,” McCarty said. “(The community feedback process) was very front-loaded.”

The board has had multiple meetings in recent weeks with job candidates.The members worked with a search team with representatives from Ball State University, Indiana University, Indiana State University and Purdue University to narrow the list of prospects.

The board has been looking for a new leader who is innovative and ready to embrace technology with a new program to roll out laptop computers to students.

“It’s the largest decision we’ll make as a school board,” member Shannon Walls said.

Board president Tony May said the proposed contract has been run by their top choice, so next week’s job offer in the public meeting is a formality. A small reception is planned.

“The quality of candidates we had was very good,” May said.

“We started with 20 and went down to five,” McCarty added.

Riggs has been helpful throughout the selection process, they added. While they’re looking forward to a fresh set of eyes on the school corporation, especially as the district pursues a one-to-one computer program, they expressed gratitude for Riggs’ leadership.

“He is leaving here with all the best intentions for this school district,” McCarty said.

At a glance

If you go

What: School board meeting and reception for Mt. Vernon’s new superinetndent

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Mt. Vernon administrative office, 1776 W. State Road 234, Fortville