By DENISE DICK
City schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn will be on the job for four more years, collect 10 percent less in annual salary, and be able to draw on his retirement.
By a 5-2 vote Tuesday, school board members approved Hathorn’s retirement and rehire. He will earn $119,240 annually.
The retirement is effective Sunday. His new contract runs from next Tuesday through July 31, 2017. Before retirement, Hathorn’s annual salary was $132,000.
“This board has one overriding goal, and that is to make the best decisions to benefit our students and families,” board President Richard Atkinson said in a written statement.
He said the board has worked for more than two years with Hathorn and with the city schools’ academic-distress commission to transform the district into “one defined by student choice and student achievement. Youngstown families now have more pathways and innovative programs leading to relevant jobs and college than any school or district in the area.”
The decision to rehire Hathorn allows the district to continue to move forward, maintain momentum and stay focused on students, Atkinson said.
“The board voted as one, and we’re going to keep moving forward,” Hathorn said, adding that he’ll continue to try to direct the district to continue its improvement and boost student achievement.
Board members Andrea Mahone and Brenda Kimble, who cast the dissenting votes, said their actions against the retire/rehire decision
aren’t personal against Hathorn.
Mahone said that if the state report card, released later this year, shows marked improvement, her vote will prove to be the wrong one. If it doesn’t, though, she’ll stand by her vote.
Kimble said she wants Hathorn to stay with the district, believing he’s moving it in the right direction by expanding student choice. She believes, however, that he should have taken more of a salary cut.
Voters last year approved a 10.4-mill renewal levy for the district, and many of those voters are classified employees in the school district, Kimble said. Those employees have taken pay freezes and paid more for their health insurance in the last several years. If they decide to retire, their retirement will be less than it would have been without those concessions, she said.
Kimble said she would have liked to see Hathorn’s salary reduced to between $100,000 and $105,000 annually to pay for a staff member.
“I will continue to work with Dr. Hathorn and with the other board members to move this district forward,” she said.
Hathorn sought to retire and be rehired because of changes to the State Teacher Retirement System.
The changes include a provision that if members retire after July 1, they have to wait five years before receiving a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment annually.
By retiring, Hathorn will be able to draw on his retirement and collect the lower salary.
If members retire before July 1, they won’t receive a cost-of-living adjustment for one year, but then will receive the 2 percent adjustments after that.