St. Johns School District has a better way

St. Johns County has the top school district in Florida.

St. JohnsEscambia
Grade – 2018-19 school yearAB
Points Earned776606
Rank, out of 67 districts#1#51

The St. Johns County School Board’s policies set forth the responsibilities of the superintendent in three succinct paragraphs. He is responsible for administration of the district and must keep the board informed of all phases of the school system. He is the executive officer of the school board, and all staff is under his supervision and direction. Pretty simple.

The proposed policy for the Escambia County School District has three paragraphs that explain the relationship between the board and superintendent and another four on the powers of the superintendent.  

The Escambia proposal has a separate section that deals with the specifications of superintendent’s contract and how he will be paid his full contract if fired without cause by four board members.

The St. Johns Superintendent has a performance-based contract with bonuses tied to an annual evaluation, school performance and maintaining his certifications. The evaluation is divided into eight categories and 37 subcategories.

If the results show the superintendent met expectations in all eight categories, his base salary is increased by a percentage equal to the percentage of the aggregate base compensation increase awarded the district’s teachers.

Would Malcolm Thomas ever had earned a performance base if he was evaluated using the St. Johns’ evaluation process?

The contract identifies specific causes for termination, such as immorality, misconduct in office, incompetence and gross insubordination. If he is fired without cause, the superintendent is paid severance pay equal to 20 weeks base compensation. Termination requires only three votes of the school board.

Thomas and his administration team want to make the appointed superintendent as powerful and immovable as the elected superintendent by making termination so difficult and financially onerous that he can almost never be fired.

The Escambia County School Board should use the policies and contract template of the most successful school district in the state, not create the appointed position into the image of the current officeholder.

Don’t let Malcolm Thomas sabotage the appointed superintendent system before it’s ever implemented. Contact your school board member before Thursday’s board meeting.

District 1
Kevin Adams
Office 850-469-6137
Cell     850-449-8692
District 2
Paul H. Fetsko
Office 850-469-6153
Cell     850-292-0528
District 3
Dr. Laura Edler
Office 850-469-6154
Cell     850-712-0065
District 4
Patty Hightower, Chairman
Office 850-469-6265
Home 850-477-3044
District 5
Bill Slayton, Vice Chairman
Office 850-469-6258
Home 850-968-9118