2017-06-22 / Around Town

Committee Extends Administrators’ and Superintendent’s Contracts

By Brooke Constance White

Newport School Committee Chair, Dave Hanos, shared with Newport This Week that during a two-hour meeting Tuesday night, the Newport School Committee spent the majority of its time in executive session discussing contracts and ultimately voting to extend the contracts for the district’s 13 administrators and Superintendent, Colleen Jermain. Hanos said all were given a one to three-year contract extension with a one-year raise. Additional raises in the second year will be based on performance evaluations. Jermain’s salary is currently $162,874 but will increase to $167,760 in the extended contract.

The vote was 5-1, with Committee Member David Carlin casting the only opposing vote. Committee Member Jo Eva Gaines was not present.

“The good news is that we didn’t have to let anyone go,” Hanos said. “Everyone was offered an extension. We deliberated over contracts for no less than an hour and 50 minutes, laying out what we expect from our staff in order to raise the bar for education. We clearly have some hurdles in the district so we want to make expectations much higher this year and make sure those expectations are known about ahead of time and met.”

Committee member Carlin, in speaking to Newport This Week, the day after the meeting, said he voted no against the contract extensions because they were too long and would bind the next school committee. He said the lack of improvement in attendance and testing in schools and the “dismal” behavior problem were also factors in his opposing vote.

“The School Committee will look very poor in the eyes of the taxpayers and city council, when the school committee is ‘begging’ for more money and resources from the council/taxpayer, while at the same time laying off nine teachers, virtually eliminating our finance department, laying off staff, and handing out more than generous contracts,” he said. “What poor and insensitive timing.”

The committee also voted to to share accounting services with the city in order to streamline the process and see some savings. Although the school department will maintain full control of the finances, the city will be taking over the accounting tasks.

“There’s some saving built in there,” Hanos said. “I still think we’re short in administration, but with a tough budget we have to make do. That’s why we wanted to consolidate on the accounting end.”

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