HARVARD -- Presuming all goes well in the screening and selection process, Harvard's next superintendent of schools will earn between $155,000 and $175,000 in total compensation, depending on qualifications.
How the candidate opts to take that payment -- base pay, annuities, disability insurance, etc. -- will be the candidate's call. It's an acknowledgement that older candidates will likely want most of their compensation via their base pay, which counts towards their eventual retirement system compensation. Younger candidates may opt for a more varied compensation package.
The Harvard School Committee talked Monday about its upcoming search process. Interim Superintendent Joseph Connelly is tweaking a brochure touting the benefits of serving as superintendent for the Harvard school district.
The finalized brochure will eventually be mailed to 1,000 superintendents and principals across New England by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. MASC is assisting Harvard's search process at no cost other than out-of-pocket and postage expenses.
Instead of hiring MASC or another consultant, Harvard will screen candidates via a Superintendent Search Committee.
MASC will be the filing point for applications. MASC will prioritize resumes received but turn the entire lot over to Harvard's search committee.
MASC will offer in-district training to the search committee. On Oct. 15, MASC will provide a workshop on how to screen resumes. On Nov. 27, MASC will offer a second workshop on candidate interview procedures.
Ultimately the goal is to produce three to five finalists for public interviews conducted by the full School Committee.
School Committee Chairwoman SusanMary Redinger said MASC Executive Director Glenn Koocher counts 11 other school districts which are likewise launching superintendent searches at this time. With an early call for resumes, Harvard is well positioned to "take advantage of the first wave of people who may be interested."
In the event the candidate pool isn't satisfactory, Redinger said the committee retains the "ultimate right to stop or restart the process at any time. We can start a new search. We hope that does not happen."
The job will be posted on Sept. 19 on the MASC SchoolSpring.com website and in Education Week Magazine. Resumes and letters of interest will be accepted through Nov. 16.
From Nov. 16 through Dec. 11, the Search Committee will work to identify finalists. The School Committee will conduct its review of the finalists from Dec. 17 through Jan. 18.
Connelly said Thomas Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, provided a grid of fiscal 2012 superintendent salaries. From a list of 20 like-sized and like-performing districts, Connelly said he calculated the average total compensation package for such a superintendent at $162,183 and the average tenure was 5.5 years.
Adjusted for the cost of living for the next two fiscal years, Connelly said that salary translates to $170,000 in fiscal 2014.
Connelly said Koocher advises a $20,000 advertised salary range to attract candidates with varied experience. A three-year contract is typically offered the final candidate.
Connelly said the prior school superintendent, Thomas Jefferson, was compensated $145,000 in base pay for school year 2010-2011. Adding on annuities, life insurance, longevity pay and professional-development reimbursement, Jefferson's total compensation package was $161,395.
Connelly, who otherwise "retired" as a school administrator in 2007, has worked in a variety of school districts on a year-only basis through critical-need waivers granted by the state. Connelly was paid $145,000 in fiscal 2012 for full-time work while the district worked to study whether or not it wanted to stick with a full-time school superintendent and whether or not Harvard wished to unionize some or all central office functions with a neighboring school district.
In the end, Harvard is retaining its central administrative model. But Connelly's working a reduced 80 percent schedule with pay likewise reduced to $115,000 for fiscal 2013.
Redinger said Harvard will be attractive to candidates. She cited the town's beauty, the fiscal stability of the town and school budgets, engaged school councils, and the strong relationship between the committee and the superintendent. "There are alot of pluses to being here."
Koocher recommended a $165,000 to $185,000 advertised salary range. Scott recommended a $160,000 to $180,000 advertised salary range for Harvard's next school superintendent.
"Both of these individuals have a sense of the entire state," said Connelly.
School Committee member Patty Wenger channeled Jefferson-era sentiment. "Before, people felt he was the highest paid superintendent."
"It was very high," said Finance Director Lorraine Leonard.
"And we had hard times following that," said Wenger.
Jefferson's $145,000 former base salary with a three-year 2.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment would have brought Jefferson's base pay to $156,200, said Connelly.
Narrowing the range, Redinger suggested a $155,000 to $175,000 scale. "I'd be fine with that," said Wenger.
"I had $150,000 to $170,000," suggested School Committee member Kirsten Wright. "I don't think this is a job for an inexperienced superintendent."
Ultimately the committee agreed (4-0, with committee member Keith Cheveralls absent) to advertise the post for $155,000 to $175,000 range per year in total compensation.