New Cullman County Board of Education superintendent Dr. Craig Ross has been signed to a three-year contract that will pay him $120,000 per year, with standard incremental raises set to take effect each subsequent year.
The board approved the contract at a specially called meeting Thursday night, and released the contract on Friday. Ross will officially become the system’s new appointed superintendent effective June 16.
“We’ve set history in Cullman County with this, and there has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes to make this happen,” board president Chris Carter said. “It is an honor and a pleasure to have Dr. Craig Ross representing our system.”
The contract was ratified by a 4-1 split vote, with two board members absent. Outgoing elected superintendent Billy Coleman, who has been an outspoken supporter of the transition to elected, now plans to retire effective June 15, with Ross officially taking the reins the following day. Coleman will transition into a new role as consultant to the superintendent for the remainder of the month and be paid his current salary.
Ross’ contract will run from June 16, 2014 until June 30, 2017. Without further action from the board, the contract will automatically renew on an annual basis.
Ross is also entitled to receive a 2 percent pay raise, or annual pay increases as mandated by the Alabama Legislature for twelve-month certified administrative employees, to be determined by whichever is higher. He will also receive up-to $2,000 for moving expenses, as well as a $600 per month automobile allowance and a standard cell phone plan for work purposes.
With the contract now approved, Ross said he is excited to start work next week and follow in Coleman’s footsteps.
“This is a dream come true,” he said. “The transition with Mr. Coleman has been very rewarding, and it’s obvious he’s given his whole heart to this system, and I want to do the same.”
Board member Randy Hasenbein cast the lone dissenting vote on the contract, due to his concerns over an increase in pay from the listed minimum of $115,000 to $120,000 per year. The board had given Carter discretion to negotiate the contract, and Carter said he set pay at $120,000 based on a recommendation from the Alabama Association of School Boards, which facilitated the superintendent search.
Board members Kenny Brockman and Gene Sullins were not in attendance. Sullins is reportedly out of town, while Brockman was said to be dealing with a personal situation.
“I’m 110 percent committed and behind Dr. Ross as superintendent, but I won’t support the contract because its not what we agreed upon,” Hasenbein said. “It just bothers me the rest of the board was not involved when the changes were made.”
* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 134.