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Details released on Southern Hancock contract

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NEW PALESTINE — The Southern Hancock School Board has reached a tentative agreement to hire the district’s next superintendent, and that person’s contract will be worth $150,000 in base pay per year.

The identity of the top candidate is still a closely guarded secret. But board members say they’ve selected the person they want for the job and have reached a tentative three-year contract whose base salary will be – as is the case now with current Superintendent Jim Halik – the highest in the county.

The contract also includes $23,745 for health insurance; $10,000 for a retirement annuity; $7,000 for conferences and another $2,100 for membership in professional organizations; and an undisclosed amount for other benefits that are consistent with other 12-month administrators.

If the insurance package is accepted, the total deal is estimated at over $193,000 per year.        

The contract will not become official until at least seven days after a public hearing slated for April 28. Until that time, school board President William Niemier said, district officials want to keep the name of the new hire concealed.

“They have accepted the offer, but we don’t want anything to go sideways at this point,” Niemier said.

Niemier did confirm three top applicants, a woman and two men, visited for a tour of the district during the interview process. The three applicants visited the district’s five schools and met with district officials before the final offer was made.

Niemier also said the top applicant has expressed a desire to move to the community. However, he said that was not a stipulation in the hiring process.

Halik, who was superintendent of schools in Franklin in Johnson County before taking the Southern Hancock job in 2004, never moved here.

Until the district has a signed contract, Niemier said the school board thinks it best not to make an announcement on the new superintendent.

“The person has said they would prefer their name not be released until everything becomes official,” Niemier said. “I’m going to honor that.”

A week after the public hearing, the board is expected to hold a special meeting to officially approve the contract. That meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 6.

The new superintendent is scheduled to be present at the meeting and sign the deal immediately after passage, Niemier said.       

The April 28 hearing will allow community members to express their views and discuss the details of the contract.

In addition to the $150,000 in annual base pay, the new superintendent will receive a salary increase of $1,000 each school year, provided they are rated as highly effective or effective under the state’s new evaluation guidelines.

The base salary of $150,000 is $22,000 more than the contract recently given to new Greenfield-Central Superintendent Harold Olin, whose first-year base pay is listed at $128,000. However, Olin’s contract will pay him an additional $14,295 for maintenance and use of his personal vehicle for school business, and he will receive a $120-per-month cellphone stipend.   

The new SH superintendent will be required to work 260 days with an annual entitlement of 21 vacation days, 10 sick days and three personal days. Olin’s contract calls for the same number of work days but will include 25 vacation days, four personal days and 15 sick days.   

The new superintendent will make slightly less than Halik is making in his final year. The outgoing administrator’s pay is now $151,689.

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