Education

Beaufort Co. school board hasn’t agreed on terms for a new superintendent to start July 1

Frank Rodriguez, regional superintendent of the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida and a finalist for the superintendent position in Beaufort County, speaks Saturday at a public forum in Beaufort. On April 16, the school board voted to hire Rodriguez and are currently in contract negotiations with him.
Frank Rodriguez, regional superintendent of the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida and a finalist for the superintendent position in Beaufort County, speaks Saturday at a public forum in Beaufort. On April 16, the school board voted to hire Rodriguez and are currently in contract negotiations with him. Staff

Five weeks after voting to hire him as the school district’s new superintendent, the Beaufort County Board of Education does not yet have a contract in place for Frank Rodriguez to start July 1.

Board chairwoman Christina Gwozdz had no comment on the status of the superintendent position at Tuesday’s board meeting, which included more closed-session discussions about Rodriguez’s proposed contract.

The board announced after the closed session that they would hold a special meeting Thursday to further discuss Rodriguez’s contract.

After a 6-5 vote April 16, the school board offered the position to Rodriguez, superintendent for the central region of the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida.

In his current position, Rodriguez leads a student body of 58,000, more than twice that of Beaufort County’s student population.

Ten days after the board hired Rodriguez, it voted to hire the White & Story law firm in Columbia to handle contract negotiations with him.

Rodriguez was one of two finalists announced by the board April 6.

A week ago, the other finalist, Terry Dade, assistant superintendent for region 3 of Fairfax County Public Schools, accepted a position with the City of Rochester (N.Y.) School District, where he was offered a three-year contract with an annual salary of $250,000, according to a report in The Democrat and Chronicle newspaper.

That salary is $25,000 more than Dade’s predecessor in Rochester was offered three years earlier and about $25,000 more than what the Beaufort County superintendent position was advertised to be.

When former Beaufort County superintendent Jeff Moss was hired in 2013, the board took less than three weeks to approve a contract with an annual base salary of $220,000, which was $5,000 more than advertised and made him the sixth-highest paid superintendent in the state at that time, behind districts larger than Beaufort County.

After a tumultuous five years, which included a guilty plea to state ethics violations and an going FBI investigation related to his tenure with the district, Moss resigned from the position in May 2018 and left at the end of July that year.

Herb Berg took over as interim superintendent, and his contract ends July 31.

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