SCCPSS, new superintendent reach new contract agreement

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham County Public School Board has offered new Superintendent, Dr. Ann Levett, less than what the district advertised during their search.

Dr. Levett was offered $242,000 plus benefits and work-related expenses - a package that equals about $286,000 - but it still falls short of the $300,000 package the board advertised.

We've been going through the fine details of the contract, and we've found that a lot of the conditions in it are contingent on Dr. Levett's performance, including more money and the option to stick around for three years. Levett was only offered a two-year contract, and her performance will depend on whether or not she is offered the third year.

"Well, I'm happy it's finally over," said Dr. Levett.

After weeks of negotiations, the Savannah-Chatham County Public School Board and new Superintendent Dr. Levett finally agreed on the terms of her contract.

"No one is ever satisfied with their contract, but I think we have been able to negotiate something that's workable," Dr. Levett said.

A two-year contract is a maximum time a board can offer by state law. By law, superintendents - like teachers - are evaluated every year. However, it's not required that evaluations dictate whether or not someone receives more money or an extended contract. In fact, Dr. Lockamy's 2005 contract shows that he was offered the full three years and his salary was locked in from the beginning. According to Dr. Levett's contract, she could get $24,000 put into a retirement fund if she exceeds goals set by the board. Those goals have yet to be determined, but it's no secret that Dr. Levett has her work cut out for her, stepping into this role amid a SACS accreditation investigation and 12 chronically failing schools.

"We have seen progress and we don't want to ignore that. We have seen progress and we want to accelerate that progress. We feel very confident that we will see more progress this year, and that many of the schools will come off the list," said Dr. Levett. "We are not talking about Blue Bell ice cream. We are talking about children and communities, and you can't fix schools unless we fix communities, so we encourage partnering and we will certainly collaborate with all of our municipalities and other agencies."

These negotiations came on the heels of a very divided board, half of whom voted against Dr. Levett. There is also a clause in her contract that will require them to establish a procedure for communicating and resolving issues.

Prior to her promotion, Dr. Levett served as deputy superintendent.

In Fiscal Year 2016, she made just shy of $150,000. She also spent nearly $15,000 on travel.

Then Superintendent, Dr. Thomas Lockamy, made $270,000 and spent $6,000 on travel.

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