Leslie Brown, selected recently to become the next school superintendent for East Baton Rouge Parish, has worked out a three-year contract that would pay her $255,000 a year in salary, close to what outgoing Superintendent Warren Drake makes now.

This will be Brown's first superintendency and the overall terms are less generous than those in Drake's current contract. Drake came to Baton Rouge in 2015 after having spent a decade leading the Zachary school district, the leading school district in the state academically.

Brown's proposed contract is scheduled for a vote Wednesday at 5 p.m. at a special meeting of the East Baton Parish School Board. Brown, a veteran educator from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., won't officially take over as superintendent until Aug. 1, and her contract would continue through June 30, 2023.

Wednesday’s special meeting will be strictly virtual. That’s a change from meetings held in May and June, which have been a mix of in-person and virtual. The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting says that no one is attending in person “due to a specific concern related to a potential infection at the previous meeting.”

Tia Mills, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators, fits that description. The teacher union leader attended the board’s last meeting, held June 18, the same night Brown was selected as the new superintendent. On Sunday, Mills announced that she has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

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On June 18, Brown edged out by a 5-4 margin the other finalist for the job, Nakia Towns, chief of staff for Hamilton County, Tenn. schools.

Brown’s proposed annual base salary of $255,000 is slightly less than the $257,000 a year that Drake currently makes. Drake’s overall compensation package is valued at more than $400,000 a year.

Here are some of the differences in Brown’s compensation:

  • No automatic pay raise. Brown will get a raise only if teachers get a raise as they did this past school year. Drake received a 3 percent annual pay raise.
  • Smaller retirement payments. Starting in July 2011, Brown is to receive a tax sheltered annuity worth 8% of her salary, or $20,400. Drake has a retirement account which paid him $86,511 this past year; that's the equivalent of what the school system would have paid out if Drake were participating in the state’s teacher retirement system.
  • Annual car allowance of $10,000 and electronics allowance of $3,000. Drake’s annual allowances are $18,000 and $6,000, respectively.
  • Medical and other insurance benefits that other educators in the school system are eligible for. Drake currently receives a $6,000 annual allowance to purchase his own insurance.

Like Drake, Brown will be eligible for additional performance pay, but no more than $10,000 a year, whereas Drake has been able to earn up to $20,000 more a year. The board and Brown have yet to work what her performance goals will be as well as the criteria by which her annual evaluations will be determined.

Brown is chief of portfolio services for Broward County, Fla public schools, the seventh largest school district in the nation, with more than 270,000 students. That’s more than six times larger than East Baton Rouge Parish schools, which have more than 41,000 students.

Brown, 62, has spent 41 years in education in Florida, including seven in her current position. It’s a job where she oversees an array of magnet, charter schools and special programs. She is one of 10 chief-level administrators and one of more than a dozen people in the senior cabinet.

Brown's first 12 years were as a classroom teacher. She also spent seven years as the director of a magnet program, before heading to Central Office.

While she's spent her career in Florida, she considers Baton Rouge a second home thanks to family ties to the area.


Email Charles Lussier at clussier@theadvocate.com.