East Baton Rouge School Board to tackle budget, charter schools, magnet programs at meeting Thursday _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- East Baton Rouge Parish Schools Superintendent Warren Drake.

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board voted unanimously Thursday to a three-year contract that will allow former Zachary Superintendent Warren Drake to take over as superintendent no later than July 1.

Drake would make $235,000 a year in base salary, which is slightly less than what Superintendent Bernard Taylor makes now but more than the $225,000 that Taylor made when he was first hired. Drake, however, will get 3 percent pay raises each year, assuming he receives favorable evaluations.

The board, however, left for later approving specific performance goals it wants Drake to tackle, though members indicated those measurements will revolve around student achievement, graduation rates and teacher effectiveness ratings. Drake could make as much as $20,000 more each year if he meets them.

Drake was not present Thursday night.

He landed the superintendent job in April with a unanimous vote after being one of 10 applicants.

One change from the past is that the board gets sole say in developing the instrument it uses to evaluate superintendents, a decade-old document that many board members are dissatisfied with. Taylor’s contract required his approval if that document changed, but he and the board could never agree on a new method of evaluation.

The contract approved Thursday, which starts the day after Taylor’s ends, would make Drake superintendent through June 30, 2018.

Additional provisions of the contract include:

  • $1,500 a month car allowance
  • $500 electronic allowance, which covers cellphone and home Internet expenses
  • $3,500 in moving expenses if Drake opts to move from Zachary to Baton Rouge
  • Twenty days of paid leave and vacation, and 12 days of sick or emergency leave each year.

The contract also hires the 63-year-old educator immediately as a consultant. Drake began work Monday, ahead of the board approving his contract, in hopes of getting a jump on preparing for the 2015-16 school year, which starts in August.

“Part of the reason we’re bringing this up now is because he’s already working,” board President David Tatman said.

The contract names Drake as acting superintendent and chief executive officer starting June 1, something that comes into play if Taylor elects to use any of his accumulated leave prior to his June 30 departure date. Tatman said he’s not sure what, if any, leave Taylor might take.

Drake is not currently working at the Central Office, opting instead to take an office next to Capitol High School at a building known as the Keel Center.