Attorneys for the Beaufort County School District and superintendent-select Jeffrey Moss were still negotiating contract terms Friday.
Board of Education Chairman Bill Evans said he had hoped to have Moss under contract by the end of the week. He would begin work July 1.
"I'm an optimistic person," Evans said by phone Friday afternoon. "I was hoping to have an agreement today, but I don't think that's going to happen."
The school board last week chose Moss, the superintendent of Lee County, N.C., schools, over Gloria J. Davis of Decatur, Ill.
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Moss said Friday he is inclined to accept the offer if his lawyer can negotiate an acceptable contract.
Neither Evans nor Moss could say what has delayed an agreement -- negotiations are being left to the attorneys -- but were confident an agreement would be reached soon.
Moss said he "doesn't perceive an impasse at all."
"It's a delicate thing," Evans said. "We're looking at a significant cost, and Dr. Moss is, too. I'm hoping we can get it settled as soon as we can. He knows about our upcoming two-day retreat April 12 and 13 and said he wants to participate."
Moss receives a $196,000 base salary from Lee County, an $8,000 annual bonus, $800 "longevity" payment and $18,000 in deferred compensation.
The Beaufort County school board advertised the superintendent's salary "in the range of $215,000."
"I have no question about Dr. Moss' commitment to coming here or our desire to have him as our next superintendent," Evans said.
Moss has worked in North Carolina schools for 30 years and would be able to start drawing retirement from that state while working in Beaufort County.
Moss said Friday he still looks forward to moving to Beaufort County. Both he and his wife have family and friends in South Carolina, and he enjoys the area's scenic beauty.
The Beaufort County school board next meets March 19, but may hold a special meeting before then to approve a contract with Moss, Evans said.