School board approves $275,000 salary range for superintendent

Howard County's school board agreed to a salary range of about $275,000 for a new superintendent, in addition to approving other recommendations made by a consulting agency.

The board held a special meeting Wednesday night to discuss the suggested salary range, a dozen characteristics with which to evaluate job candidates, and a brochure suggested by Iowa-based search firm Ray and Associates, which was chosen last month by the board to conduct the search.

Superintendent Sydney Cousin announced this year that he is stepping down in June, at the end of his contract. Cousin's salary is $265,000.

The firm came up with a salary of $275,000, plus benefits, in response to other jurisdictions in the area that have hired new superintendents in recent years, such as Montgomery County and Baltimore City. The board decided on including the word "range" when reaching out to candidates, meaning the figure could be adjusted depending on qualifications.

Board member Allen Dyer raised the concern of comparing Howard to Baltimore City, which has a greater number of students.

Frank J. Aquino said that some salaries elsewhere are likely higher because of added perks, such as a private car. "We don't know the full packages of Dr. [Andres] Alonso" in Baltimore, he said, adding that the board does not want to overpay or scare away a potential candidate.

Brian J. Meshkin said the figure should be commensurate with experience.

The board also agreed to look for a superintendent with several qualities, including leadership ability, a knowledge of emerging research and best practices in the area of curriculum, and someone who is "dedicated to goals of continuous improvement," according to documents provided at the meeting.

The characteristics were among those in a survey taken by teachers, staff, parents and other school stakeholders.

The board also approved promotional materials to attract potential candidates.

The firm plans to recruit candidates at the American Association of School Administrators in Houston beginning Feb. 16.

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