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Hernando superintendent contract under negotiation

Published:   |   Updated: April 10, 2013 at 09:55 AM

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The Hernando County School Board is hoping to have a final contract negotiated with incoming Superintendent Lori Romano by the board’s tentative May 7 meeting, according to district documents.

An initial conference call was held with Romano, her counsel, School Board Chairman Matt Foreman, the school board’s attorney and Executive Director of Business Services Heather Martin. About a week later, a draft contract was sent to Romano’s counsel, then sent to her via email to review.

“The exchange was very positive and professional,” Romano said. “I have worked with my counsel to prepare a response to the draft contract. It is my understanding that my counsel will send this response to the school board attorney who will share with the board for review and discussion.”

The board expressed during a March meeting a desire to have the contract finalized in the coming weeks, but with board member Dianne Bonfield not being able to attend the board’s April 16 meeting, a possible date of approval has been pushed back to next month.

The school board tasked Foreman with entering into contract negotiations with Romano and during the first round of negotiations offered her a $101,000 per contractual year salary agreement, which is $1,000 more than the base advertised pay and about $5,000 more than what Romano currently makes as director of adult, community, secondary and virtual education at Martin County Public Schools.

Romano makes a $95,765 base salary with a $3,600 doctoral supplement for a total salary of $99,365, she said.

The superintendent position was advertised at an annual salary between $100,000 and $130,000 with negotiable fringe benefits and an anticipated start date of July 1.

Martin County Public Schools has approximately 18,000 students, and Hernando County School District has 23,129 students.

School superintendent isn’t the only upper managerial position being negotiated right now in the district.

“We have offered the position of (chief financial officer) to Mr. John Wilkinson. He has accepted the position and we are currently working out a start date,” Martin said. “We are excited about Mr. Wilkinson joining our team.”

John Wilkinson, 48, holds a bachelor’s in history from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind., and a pending Ph.D. in management from Walden University in Minneapolis.

Wilkinson was previously employed for about six months as CFO at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven.

“I saw the opportunity to serve Hernando County Schools as CFO and was intrigued by the position and the company,” Wilkinson specified as his reason for leaving the academy. “This sounds like an exciting opportunity and an ideal match with my qualifications.”

School Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said that since Martin is executive director of business services, she led the charge with appointing a new CFO.

“I’ll have the opportunity to meet with him on Monday just prior to the signing, and of course we’ll be discussing the future, but I have full faith in Ms. Martin and the process,” Blavatt said. “I reviewed all his information and did make the final decision, and the situation was good. I’m actually looking forward to meeting the guy.”

Wilkinson was also assistant CFO at Lakota Local Schools in Liberty Township, Ohio, from summer of 2010 to summer of 2012.

“I (voluntarily) took a lay-off instead of a reduction to the teach staff,” he stated on his application as his reason for leaving.

From November 2004 to June 2010, Wilkinson was CFO Three Rivers Local Schools in Cleves, Ohio.

“I had completed all the goals that I had set out, and was extended an offer from Lakota to achieve the same success with the district’s finances that I had experienced at Three Rivers,” Wilkinson provides as his reason for leaving.

Wilkinson’s other qualifications include:

CFO of a $21 million 501(c) (3) tax-exempt, nonprofit institution of independent education, having direct responsibility to manage school risk, human resources, payroll and benefits, financial reporting and overall business affairs.

Deputy Fiscal Officer for the seventh largest school district in Ohio, helping to manage $250 million.

Uncovering $5.4 million in unaccounted payments of several tax increment financing district payments during a six-month period.

Changing the health care provider to save $3.5 million in premiums for staff for tier 1 insurance coverage.

Blavatt said Wilkinson has notified his former employer and put in his two-week notice.

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