The Central School Board on Monday gave Superintendent Michael Faulk another near-perfect job evaluation and agreed to extend his contract for 2½ years, meaning it won’t expire until June 30, 2019.
Faulk is the only superintendent Central has had since it broke away from the East Baton Rouge Parish school system in 2007. During his eight-year tenure, Central schools have steadily improved their academic performance and now rank third in the state. The district has steadily added students (now about 4,600), improved facilities and maintained a healthy financial reserve, currently about $11 million.
School Board President Ruby Foil gave Faulk high praise.
“He really does an amazing job. He does try to keep us informed. And his knowledge of finance is remarkable,” she said.
The main thing Faulk was asked to improve on was to brief board members more quickly on controversial decisions, Foil said, noting a couple of instances when board members were unprepared when constituents called, upset over a decision of the superintendent’s.
The board rated Faulk “satisfactory” or “excellent” in four categories and nine subcategories. The four categories are educational leadership, system management, board and community relations, and miscellaneous.
After the meeting, Faulk said the final composite score was about 2.9 on a 3-point scale, the same as he earned a year ago. Two years ago, he said, he earned a 2.5 out of 3.
“We discussed some areas that they want me to work on and improve on. It’s not anything Earth-shattering,” he said. “It’s a matter of doing some things differently.”
According to his contract, he gets an annual raise plus more if he meets two performance objectives: maintaining a healthy budget reserve and earning a satisfactory evaluation. He said rather than get a 3 percent increase for reaching those benchmarks, he lowered it to 1.5 percent.
The new contract the School Board approved Monday makes a few changes to the contract Faulk has been working under.
Faulk said his base pay for 2015-16 would have been $129,000, but he decided to reset it back to $126,000. He said he will accept a raise that all employees are receiving, which will bump his pay up to $127,500. His other amenities, including allowances for housing and a cellphone, are unchanged in the new contract.
Asked why he would lower his pay, Faulk said, “The board has been good to me; the community has been good to me. I felt I was earning a fair salary, and I didn’t want to go overboard.”
It’s Faulk’s second extension in two years. A year ago, the board extended his contract through the end of 2016. Now, he will finish up in mid-2019. That means he will stay through the terms of the current School Board members and will have served as superintendent for 12 years.
Faulk, who is 67, said he could see staying longer.
“As long as my health is OK, as long as I have the drive and the passion, I want to continue working here,” he said. “And as long as I’m addressing what needs to be done.”
In other action, the Central School Board agreed to maintain property tax millages at current rates for 2015. That’s four millages totalling 60.4 mills, with 36.75 mills for general operations and 23.65 mills to pay off bonds for construction and other projects.