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Search for superintendent a competitive one

January 24, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

Washington County Board of Education members were mixed Monday regarding whether they were concerned about how competitive the search for a new schools superintendent could be, given the anticipated limited pool of candidates and other superintendent openings in the state.

Neighboring Frederick County, Montgomery County and the Eastern Shore’s Caroline County also are looking for new schools superintendents.

The Frederick County Board of Education had not yet set a minimum salary for its next superintendent, Board President Brad Young wrote in a Jan. 21 e-mail to The Herald-Mail. Board members were working with their consultant to set a salary range, he said.

The current superintendent salary in Frederick County is $241,810 with $201,811 in base salary and $40,000 in a tax-sheltered annuity plan, Young wrote.

The Frederick school system has 40,450 students, he said.

Montgomery County Public Schools’ superintendent makes $216,792 a year, according to a 2010-11 Maryland State Department of Education salary schedule.

Montgomery school system spokesman Dana Tofig said Thursday he was not aware of a minimum salary being set yet for the next superintendent.

The superintendent in Caroline County, which has 5,500 students, makes $142,100 a year, according to the state report and an e-mail from school system spokeswoman Nancy M. Robinson. A minimum salary for the next superintendent has not been set.

A brochure for candidates for the Washington County job sets the minimum salary at $180,000.

Board member Donna Brightman said candidates need to look at Washington County’s entire compensation package and the cost of living in the county.

School Board President Wayne Ridenour said he was concerned the process had become so “incredibly competitive.” Ten years ago, board members might have gotten 100 applicants, now they’ve been told they’d be lucky to get 30 to 35, he said.

It’s a tough job with a lot of responsibility, and many federal and state guidelines to deal with, Ridenour said.

Board member Karen Harshman said her only concern was the Frederick job might look more enticing on paper, but once candidates analyze what Washington County has to offer, she didn’t think it would be a problem.

There are enough good things about Washington County to perhaps offset additional money Frederick could pay a superintendent, board member Jacqueline Fischer said.

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