CONYERS — Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Richard Autry will earn a performance bonus this year, but he has declined a cost-of-living raise that he is entitled to in his contract.
The Rockdale County Board of Education approved Thursday the maximum bonus allowed in his contract, which the board approved last July when Autry was hired as the new superintendent. He is allowed a performance bonus of up to 5 percent of his base salary of $175,000.
The bonus is awarded at the sole discretion of the board based on performance goals like increasing student academic achievement, improving fiscal management, fostering collaboration and effective communication and fostering a safe and orderly learning environment, according to test scores, updates, planning and other data, according to the contract.
After executive session following Thursday’s monthly meeting, school board member Wales Barksdale made a motion to approve Autry’s bonus for meeting and exceeding goals for the 2012-13 school year.
“He was entitled to it under his contract,” Barksdale said Monday.
The motion was seconded by fellow member Tony Dowdy; board member Mandy North and board Chair Jim McBrayer approved the motion, while member Sharon Pharr voted against the motion and Katrina Young abstained from the vote. Vice Chair Brad Smith was absent from the meeting.
Pharr declined to comment Monday, saying discussion was held in a private executive session. Young also declined to say why she abstained from the vote, but said she supported Autry.
“It’s nothing that’s a surprise — it’s in his contract,” McBrayer said Monday about why he approved the performance increase. “The bottom line is that Mr. Autry is doing a wonderful job, and we are lucky to have him.”
According to Autry’s contract, he’s also allowed a minimum 5 percent cost-of-living increase to his base salary each July 1 of his contract, but school officials said Monday that he declined it.
Also Thursday, the board extended Autry’s contract by a year; Chairman McBrayer and the board’s general counsel Jack Lance will negotiate a new contract, but it is not yet available. Autry’s current contract was set to end June 30, 2015, unless renewed or terminated. The contract term cannot be extended beyond three years, according to the contract.
Autry has been a middle and high school teacher, an elementary school principal and an assistant superintendent during his 23 years in public education. He first came to RCPS in 1993 as a teacher, and then worked in Butts County before returning to RCPS as principal of Hightower Trail Elementary School in 2000. He was principal for six years until being promoted to assistant superintendent for Support Services and then for the Office of Teaching and Learning.
Also allowed in his contract, Autry receives a board-provided cellular telephone and vehicle, which includes insurance, maintenance and gas; the vehicle may be driven to and from his home daily but may not be used for purely personal use, according to the contract.
The contract also allows for Autry to attend local, state and national professional meetings and conferences in which the board would be responsible for “reasonable, actual and necessary expenses” associated with them, including travel, lodging and food expenses. The board may limit some business expenses at certain times, according to the contract.
The board also provides to Autry employee retirement contributions, alternative retirement plan employee contributions and the employee’s portion of premium for health, dental and life insurance amounts; however, the contract does not provide a percentage or specific amount.