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Olin contract includes a raise

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GREENFIELD — Harold Olin moved a step closer to becoming Greenfield-Central’s new superintendent Wednesday after a public hearing on his new contract went off without a hitch.

Olin, who is principal at Greenfield Central Junior High, is replacing Linda Gellert, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

Olin’s base salary as a first-year superintendent will be $128,000, according to the contract that is expected to receive final approval at the March 10 regular board meeting. That’s a slight increase over Gellert’s final-year salary after nine years with the school corporation.

The board invited public comment on the contract at a special meeting Wednesday. No one commented.

Gellert, who came to Greenfield in 2005 after serving as a superintendent in Bartholomew County for two years, started with an annual salary of $100,000. Nine years later, her base salary is $124,320, according to public records.

Board member Kathy Dowling said the board planned at the start of the candidate search to offer the new superintendent the same salary Gellert would have received had she stayed on another year. Greenfield-Central staff members are slated to receive a 3 percent raise.

Dowling said the board wanted to be competitive and researched salaries of superintendents at similar-sized corporations before making a decision.

“We’re comparable but not leading the pack or anything,” she said. “We want to be fair.”

Greenfield-Central is the county’s largest school corporation, but it does not have the highest-paid superintendent, Dowling added.

Jim Halik, superintendent of Southern Hancock schools, is the county’s highest-paid school administrator with a base salary of $151,689.

Board member Steve Menser said while Olin does not have experience as a superintendent, he nevertheless comes to the position with a strong background.

Olin has been a principal in four of the district’s eight buildings.

“That brings value to the table,” Menser said.

The school corporation is lucky to be in a stable financial position to offer a competitive salary and benefits package, Dowling added.

“We can afford to attract the best possible person,” she said.

Apart from the salary raise, Olin’s contract essentially matches Gellert’s. Olin’s work year of 260 days includes 25 vacation days, 11 holidays off, four personal days and 15 sick days.

Olin will also be paid $14,295 for maintenance and use of his personal vehicle for school business and will receive a $120-per-month cellphone stipend.

“In my opinion, it’s a done deal,” board president Retta Livengood said of Olin’s hiring, though the board did not take a vote Wednesday. “It’s my understanding he’s already shadowing Dr. Gellert.”

Olin said one of his first tasks will be to fill the position he leaves behind, as well as those at two elementary schools whose principals are retiring.

Olin said the district has many qualified internal applicants, but the search will not be limited to current G-C employees.

“We will likely move some pieces around the puzzle,” he said. “We will certainly look outside as well.”

Board members said members of the community have come forward and told them they’re pleased with the decision to promote Olin.

“I’ve gotten really positive feedback everywhere I go,” Livengood said.

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