Alachua County School Board approves new contract for superintendent
Listen above: Áine Pennello reported this story for WUFT-FM.
Teachers, parents and administrators gathered in the Alachua County School Board’s administration building late Tuesday night to voice their opinion on a potential three-year contract extension and $15,000 raise for Superintendent Shane Andrew. After a lengthy discussion and amendment process, the board passed the revised contract 3-2, with members Tina Certain and Dr. Sarah Rockwell opposed.
Andrew presented the board with a contract that would increase his pay from $175,000 to $190,000, to be paid retroactively from July 2023. It would also provide Andrew with $800 in car expenses, retirement benefits and 20 weeks of severance pay, so long as he is not fired for misconduct.
After debate among its members, the board made several amendments to Andrew’s proposal. They changed his salary to $182,500, reduced the contract length to two years, capped his travel expenses at $3,000 and added a provision to create a new evaluation process, to be discussed in the next 60 days.
The amendments also include the possibility for incentive-based raises. These include a $5,000 base salary increase if he is evaluated as “effective” or “highly effective” by the majority of board members, and an additional $2,500 increase for each Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) school that he raises to a C rating. These schools include Lake Forest, Rawlings, Metcalfe and Shell elementaries.
The crowd remained divided in their support of the contract. Some felt that Andrew had yet to accomplish enough to earn a pay increase and that the national search to replace him, which was called off in the board’s Oct. 19 meeting, should be conducted.
“Superintendent Andrew has not moved the needle on one measurable goal or strategic initiative after almost two years,” Ann Stoy, a Fletcher's Mill mother of three, said during public comment. “We will work with Mr. Andrew during the timeframe we have, but we need to move forward.”
However, others, including board member Kay Abbit, felt that a national search would be a waste of district money and yield no viable candidates.
“When a district has a track record of seven superintendents in 10 years, the board needs to put aside personal differences with one another and support the superintendent,” she said. “I don’t think any quality candidate would apply to work for a board that is clearly divided.”
Board member Tina Certain voted in opposition to the contract, despite having proposed Andrew become interim superintendent after the termination of Carlee Simon in 2022. She was joined by Dr. Sarah Rockwell, who said the board’s decision seemed rushed.
“Cooperation in unity would have meant having a workshop to discuss this in detail, not rushing to pass a new contract when there’s already an existing contract,” she said. “Even though I recognize that Mr. Andrew is going to be our superintendent, I cannot in good conscience vote in favor of this contract.”
The board is set to meet again Feb. 20.