by Octorara Board of School Directors
Over the course of the past several years the Board Directors have been working on contract language for all employee contracts. Additionally, the Board Directors have been looking at when contracts are set to expire and are working to assure that key leadership positions are not set to expire as the same time. Last year, at a time when we thought Dr. Newcome may be leaving the District we spent a considerable amount of time reviewing his contract. Since ultimately Dr. Newcome remained with the District and because his present contract is due to expire in conjunction with other key contracts, the Board Directors began discussions with Dr. Newcome last fall to revise and extend his contract. In January the Board Directors and Dr. Newcome arrived at a tentative contract agreement. Based on the recommendation of legal counsel the Board Directors waited until this time to bring the contract forward. The process of extending a contract for a commissioned officer requires a resignation without qualification and the offer of a new contract. The desire of the Board Directors and Dr. Newcome was to extend a contract for another five year term. This required the action to wait until this time.
The new contract that the Board Directors are offering Dr. Newcome includes language required by Act 82 which addresses termination and resignation. This language was missing from the previous contract. The new language provides protection for both the district and Dr. Newcome. The contract will be in effect for the time period of July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2018. Most of the contract will look similar to the present contract with the exception of salary. Dr. Newcome was scheduled to earn $146,000 during the 2014-2015 school year – the final year of his present contract. In the newly negotiated deal Dr. Newcome will earn $142,000 during the final year of the contract, 2017-2018. In other words, he has agreed to take an immediate reduction in salary based on contract to contract dollars of $8,200 and has agreed to a final salary of $4,000 less than what was originally called for in his present contract.
Dr. Newcome’s willingness to make these salary concessions is reflective of his understanding of the financial situation in the school district.
The Board unanimously supports Dr. Newcome and his leadership of the Octorara Area School District. During his tenure the District has regained financial solvency returning from negative fund balances to a sustainable operating budget. He accomplished this by creatively working to reduce operational cost while maintaining high standards. These high standards are evident in the Districts’s overall success in the State assessment program, in the increase number of students that take Advanced Placement courses and other college credit classes, in the number of students – almost double – taking quality Career and Technology Education classes, in the success of our students with special needs, and in many other ways. We acknowledge we still have areas of needed improvement but we are moving ahead and look forward to Dr. Newcome’s continuing leadership.
Two items will be placed on the agenda for next Monday. The first will be Dr. Newcome’s resignation effective June 30, 2013. The second item will be the Board Director’s approval of a new five year contract for Dr. Newcome effective July 1, 2013.