The East Feliciana Parish School Board approved a four-year contract Tuesday with incoming Superintendent Carlos J. Sam, who is succeeding Henderson Lewis Jr.

The contract begins July 1, but the board agreed to hire Sam as a consultant beginning June 1 at the daily rate of pay specified in the contract.

Sam’s minimum salary will be $129,500 per year, with provisions in the contract for 2 percent pay raises annually if the board rates his performance as “satisfactory” or higher.

Sam is coming to East Feliciana Parish from the East Baton Rouge Parish school system. He was selected from among three finalists last month after Lewis stepped down to take over the Orleans Parish school system.

The board will pay Sam $500 per month for his automobile expenses and other vouchered expenses incurred in performing his duties.

The board will vote next month on performance objectives through which Sam could earn $2,000 more for each objective he meets. Board attorney Kenneth F. Sills said the objectives have not been ironed out, but they will fit with new guidelines for superintendents set by state law.

Sills also said the current board also could extend the length of his contract by 18 months before the members’ current terms expire.

In other business, the board accepted the Finance Committee’s recommendation to declare “financial exigency” to reduce the number of employees if necessary to cut spending in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Hoping to avoid deficit spending, the board also voted to freeze all salary step increases for the next school year and set a cap of $100,000 on the total amount to be paid to employees in the form of a “13th check” from a special tax revenue fund.

The committee and board put off a decision on a controversial plan to cut spending: eliminating the parish’s middle school and reconfiguring elementary schools to kindergarten through sixth grade and the high school to grades seven to 12.

The board also agreed to call an Oct. 24 election to ask voters to renew a pair of 1-cent sales taxes for another 10 years and to renew a 17-mill property tax for same period.