EBR board votes on contract, Lee High
The East Baton Rouge School Board approved a contract Thursday for incoming Superintendent Bernard Taylor that will pay Taylor an annual base salary of $225,000 per year, plus incentives for school system improvement.
The board also voted to reopen Lee High School, but did not decide what grade levels would be at the school or an attendance zone from which the students would be drawn.
Several School Board members praised Taylor’s contract before approving it by a 10-0 vote. Board member Kenyetta Nelson-Smith was absent when the vote was taken.
“I am extremely comfortable with the terms of the contract,” board member David Tatman said.
The contract is for three years and 12 days, allowing Taylor to start work June 18.
In addition to his annual salary, Taylor will receive annual raises of 3 percent as long as he receives a favorable evaluation. He will also be eligible for a performance bonus of up to $10,000 each year, and will receive car and technology allowances, according to the contract.
The base salary is about 12 percent more than Taylor was making as superintendent of the Grand Rapids, Mich., school system. Grand Rapids has about 18,000 students, less than half of the 43,000 students in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Taylor has been on academic leave from Grand Rapids since late December. His base salary is roughly the same as former Superintendent John Dilworth was making on his last day, Feb. 23.
Board member Jerry Arbour asked Taylor if the terms of the contract were acceptable.
“Yes,” Taylor replied.
The board also approved the reopening of Lee High School for the 2012-2013 school year. The school has been closed since 2009. For the last two years, the site has been used as the temporary home of Baton Rouge Magnet High School while its Government Street location underwent major renovations.
“Will the new district lines require board approval?” board member Jill Dyason asked interim Superintendent Carlos Sam and Freiburg.
“We would come back to you,” Sam said, adding that administrators plan to seek input from community and staff as well.
Sam said he hoped to have some more information by the next time the board meets as a committee of the whole on June 7.
Freiburg mentioned that the school could possibly include an eighth grade, but stressed no decision had been made.
The board approved the measure 10-0 with Nelson-Smith absent.
In other business, the board authorized Taylor to create an office of innovation and reform as part of his reorganization of central office administration, but only after board members quizzed Taylor on when they might see a complete overhaul plan.
“What is the mission statement of this new office?” Arbour asked.
“The office of innovation and reform will provide support and technical assistance to schools that are D or below,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he needed the approval to form the office so he can attract top flight talent to the two positions he envisioned in the department.
“I hope no action is required on this issue,” board member Connie Bernard said. Bernard said she had just received information on the proposal at the meeting and had no time to review it.
“Waiting until June means talent we need to bring to bear will not be available,” Taylor said.
“What is the budget of this project?” Bernard asked.
“That’s to be determined,” Taylor said, before saying the department would be “revenue neutral” because it would be part of a larger reorganization
Taylor said the office of innovation and reform is a critical piece of his reorganization plan and that others will follow “in quick succession.”