The Williamson County Board of Education’s work session Thursday forecasted big steps as the members reviewed a full draft of WCS interim Superintendent Jason Golden’s contract for the permanent position of superintendent.
After voting last month to enter into contract negotiations with Golden for the position, the school board carefully reviewed the proposed contract to be voted on at their next board meeting on Monday.
The contract proposes a salary of $270,504 — the same as former Superintendent Mike Looney’s salary before he left in May to lead Atlanta-based Fulton County Schools.
“Compensation is exactly Dr. Looney’s compensation," Golden said. "I didn’t ask for a pay increase, and I also felt like, if you value me as a superintendent, it ought to be for the price you’ve been paying for the superintendent."
Under the contract, Golden would also receive benefits like health care, life insurance, smartphone compensation and a government vehicle, as well as automotive expense reimbursements for use of his personal vehicle.
Golden said the latter was something he negotiated, as he didn’t feel comfortable conducting personal business in a government car.
“I have a philosophical problem with that, even though you pay me for that, so that was me being me,” Golden said. “What we talked about was I can have a vehicle to drive for school business, which includes me driving back and forth from home, but I’m telling you, I’m not going to go out on Saturday and run personal errands in a government car. I didn’t want the contract to say I do.”
The proposed contract allots a four-year term, listing January 31 of next year as the first renewal date. A positive vote would renew the contract for several months, and the board would then vote on an annual basis for the remainder of the term.
According to school attorney Dana Ausbrooks, there were a couple of notable differences between Golden’s proposed contract and Looney’s contract.
For instance, instead of receiving a pay-out for any additional vacation days over 24, Golden has opted to transfer these days to sick leave, resigning the pay-out.
Another is the board may request a physical examination for Golden at any time, at their own expense, and receive a statement concerning his physical and mental condition.
The board discussed a couple of nuances regarding the wording of the contract, but nonetheless sent it on for a vote on Monday with few changes.
Some of the board members, including Candace Emerson, 8th District, took the time to remark on Golden’s contributions to the team.
“I am so excited about the potential that our new superintendent is bringing, not only to his role, but to our ability to get a lot of things done in a very, not only timely, but a very cohesive and friendly environment,” Emerson said.
The board will vote on the contract at their next board meeting Monday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Williamson County Administrative Complex.
WCS introduces new app
The board also heard a presentation from WCS Communications Director Carol Birdsong and Assistant Communications Director Cory Mason about an upcoming app for WCS families and staff.
The app will include WCS news, customizable by school; an event calendar; a notification system; a school directory; and a tip line, where parents or children can report issues in school concerning topics like bullying, self-harm or drugs and alcohol.
Birdsong said she hopes this tip line will be helpful and not an avenue for inappropriate use.
“We hope it’s not abused," she said. "We’re optimistic that it won’t be. We are prepared, though.”
Parents will also be able to make meal payments and school payments for things like field trips through the app.
“As a parent, I’ve got to say, that’s what I’m most excited about with this,” Mason said. “Everything’s in one place. I don’t have to go searching out for my school bus, go to that website or download that app or do the same thing for field trips. It’s all in one place.”
Birdsong also said WCS will add an Instagram account, and the app will house links to the school’s social media pages.
Mason explained the app will be adjusted according to how it performs and its reception by families.
“We’re taking baby steps," he said. "We’re kind of wading into this shallow water and trying to see how it works and how it responds and how our parents enjoy it, so we’ll be adjusting it as we go on."
Mason said the app will be ready soon, downloadable through the App Store and Google Play.