Board extends NASD superintendent contract

Published 12:06 am Friday, June 12, 2015

NATCHEZBy a three-to-two vote, the Natchez-Adams School Board voted Thursday evening to extend the contract of Superintendent Frederick Hill by an additional three years.

Hill is set to begin the fourth year of his four-year contract with the school on July 1.

Hill and the school board have been embroiled in controversy of late over teacher resignations and pending legal action involving teacher and administrator reassignments.

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The Adams County Board of Supervisors in May requested a meeting with its two school board appointees — Board President Tim Blalock Jr. and Cynthia Smith — after several supervisors reported hearing grumblings about Hill and personnel issues within the district.

During that meeting, several supervisors clashed with a combative Blalock, resulting in supervisors voting to ask Blalock to resign. Blalock refused.

Blalock’s current term ends in February 2016.

Listed as an item for action on the school board’s agenda Thursday was the superintendent’s contract extension. School board attorney Bruce Kuehnle told board members they could extend Hill’s contract, if they chose to do so, by no more than three years. However, he said the board was not obligated to take any action at all.

Kuehnle also told board members they could consider an increase in salary for Hill, but they could not extend the contract for any less than his existing contract’s salary.

School board member Benny Wright asked Kuehnle if board members could extend Hill’s contract and negotiate a salary at a later date.

“The contract existing with the superintendent authorizes the board to make salary adjustments anytime during the contract,” Kuehnle said.

Smith asked Kuehnle if the board had to take action on the contract extension before Hill enters the last year of his contract on July 1.

Kuehnle told the board they could determine whether to extend Hill’s contract anytime before Feb. 1, 2016.

“The absolute deadline is Feb. 1, 2016, or the contract is automatically renewed for a one-year period,” he said.

“Wouldn’t it be more to our advantage for us to wait until a later date?” Smith asked her fellow board members. “We would have more of the testing and other data (the board) always talks about at a later date. We would also have more teacher information on reassignments.”

Blalock asked if the district administration had a copy of the last quarterly survey of employees, “the anonymous survey.” However, no such survey was produced.

Board member Thelma Newsome said the board had data already, like “the third grade reading gateway results.”

Board member Amos James Jr. suggested the board consider extending Hill’s contract by one year.

“He still has a year on his contract. If we extend it one year, that would give him another two years,” James said. However, James did not put his suggestion in the form of a motion.

Board member Benny Wright moved to extend Hill’s contract three years. Newsome seconded the motion.

Smith and James voted against the three-year extension. Wright and Newsome voted in favor.

Blalock broke the tie by voting in favor of the three-year extension.

The contract extension approved by the board Thursday did not include any discussion of Hill’s compensation. During the 2012-13 school year, Hill’s salary was $133,500. It is unclear if Hill has been given pay increases since that time.

Hill said at the meeting he would make a comment after the meeting, but then did not return repeated phone calls later Thursday evening.