NASD interim superintendent contract needs final signature

Published 11:33 pm Friday, April 15, 2016

NATCHEZ — Although Natchez-Adams School District Interim Superintendent Fred T. Butcher’s contract still needs one signature to make it official, his work to lead the district has already begun.

Butcher’s contract was approved Thursday, in a 3-0 vote with board member Benny Wright abstaining. The contract still requires the signature of board member Thelma Newsome to become official. Newsome serves as the board’s secretary, but was not present at Thursday’s meeting.

“Back in my day, before every child had their own room, we all gathered together at lunch time, dinner time or TV time in one room,” he said. “I want to work to tear down those walls that have been built in this district because we have to work together.

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“We have to work as a group to make sure we do the best job for our students.”

Wright said his abstention from the vote had nothing to do with the recent termination of former superintendent Frederick Hill, who Wright contends was doing a good job.

“Mr. Butcher’s hiring has nothing to do with my perspective on Dr. Hill’s departure,” he said. “I had not had a chance to read the contract — I couldn’t get it to pick up on my computer.

“I don’t think it’s good business practice to get into a contract if you have not read it.”

Butcher is replacing Hill, who is looking for employment in the Columbus Municipal School District as the high school’s principal.

Hill’s contract was terminated after a federal jury ruled against he and the district in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former principal in the district.

Butcher will be compensated $9,800 per month, which is approximately $1,300 less per month than Hill was making when he was superintendent.

Board Attorney Bruce Kuehnle Jr. said the number was pulled from a salary computation that was done 6-7 years ago when the district previously had an interim superintendent.

“Mr. Butcher indicated that was acceptable to him, even though it was a number of years ago,” the attorney said.

The contract term is scheduled to run from April 7 to Dec. 31. After that time, the term is eligible to be extended should both Butcher and the board of trustees desire it.

Butcher must also agree to step down or accept a reassignment within the district in the event the board employees a permanent superintendent during the period.Butcher, as a temporary employee, was required to waive rights including benefits and vacation, but he can be reimbursed for expenses deemed reasonable.