Incentives package urged for new school chief

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 22, 2000

Area business leaders are recommending that when a new superintendent is found for the Vicksburg Warren School District, incentive clauses be a part of the contract.

F.M. “Easy” Biedenharn, a vice president of the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce, addressed the Vicksburg Warren School Board of Trustees Thursday with a proposal to include bonuses based on performance for the next superintendent.

“Always prodding with a stick is not the answer,” Biedenharn said. “Sometimes dangling a carrot out there can make the difference.”

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The Chamber of Commerce, Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Foundation and Warren County Manufacturers Association joined to make the proposition and offered assistance in drawing up a compensation package proposal.

An example given by Biedenharn was to offer the new superintendent, once one is hired, a bonus if the school district moves from its current state accreditation level 3 to a level 4.

“The dollars spent on a bonus could very well be the best investment ever made by the school district,” he said.

The superintendent’s position has paid $75,000 annually.

Biedenharn asked that the board respond to the proposition before the regularly scheduled board meeting in November. That meeting should be on Nov. 16.

“We don’t know about November, but we will certainly respond in a timely manner,” board president Zelmarine Murphy said.

The district’s Strategic Plan, which was developed by the Core Planning Team and adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1997, has specific guidelines for the search of a new superintendent. Part of that process was the forming of the search committee in April to begin the process of finding a superintendent by July 2001.

Two new members were added to the search committee Sept. 15. Heidi Chausse, special education teacher at Warren Central Intermediate School, and Edward Wong, social studies teacher at Vicksburg High School, were added to represent the Core Planning Team.

The previous superintendent, Robert Pickett, retired in January after six years at the helm of the school district. In his place, Donald Oakes is serving on an interim basis pending the search.

In other matters the board:

Adopted a resolution agreement with the Office for Civil Rights concerning Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Voted to request that the Warren County Board of Supervisors make repairs to a bus turnaround at 3277 Fonsylvania Road.

Authorized the transportation department to purchase seven used buses, including one with a wheelchair lift, for $66,000.

Approved a contract with Good Samaritan Physical Therapy to provide occupational therapy for the 2000-2001 school year.

Accepted $151,097 from the Mississippi Department of Education for Sherman Avenue Elementary for computers and software.

The board meets next on Oct. 19.