Rockdale County Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation, left, took new Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Richard Autry's Oath of Office during Thursday's monthly school board meeting. Also participating is his wife Brandy. His parents Gerald and Nancy Autry, of Newton County, also attended the meeting.
CONYERS -- The contract for the new superintendent of Rockdale County Public Schools is similar to that of his predecessor.
Richard Autry took over as superintendent at the beginning of the month to replace outgoing Superintendent Samuel King, who took a superintendent job in Virginia.
Autry's contract, unless renewed or terminated, will end on June 30, 2015, according to the contract signed by Autry and Rockdale County Board of Education Chair Wales Barksdale and Vice Chair Jean Yontz. King's last amended contract was extended through June 2014 in July 2011.
The major difference between the two contracts is compensation. Autry will receive a base salary of $175,000, compared to King's base salary of $200,000.
Barksdale said Friday that there was no particular reason for the change in salary.
"He's a first-time superintendent," Barksdale said about Autry. "The salary was negotiated and agreed upon, and it's comparable to similar size systems and is based on experience."
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.
As in King's contract, Autry is allowed a cost of living increase and performance compensation each year of his contract.
According to the contract, effective July 1, 2013, and for each July 1 thereafter, the superintendent will receive a minimum of 5 percent cost of living increase to his base salary. If the sum of a 3 percent step increase and the cost of living rate granted by the state is greater than 5 percent, then he will receive that sum.
Under no circumstances may the board decrease his salary below the base salary, the contract reads.
Additionally, Autry also may earn compensation for performance up to a maximum of 5 percent of his current base salary. It is 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.
Like King, 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.
By signing the contract, Autry warrants that he is licensed and qualified to serve as superintendent, never been convicted or sentenced for any felony, never dishonorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces and does not have an immediate family member serving on the board or hired or promoted as principal, assistant principal or system administrative staff.
Like King's contract, Autry's contract may be terminated if the board deems that he is incompetent, insubordinate, not compliant with school laws or board policies or "any other good and sufficient cause," according to the contract.
The board also reserves the right to terminate without cause the contract, but must pay him his salary for 12 months or to the end of his contracted term.
The contract term cannot be extended beyond three years.
Rockdale County Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation administered Autry's Oath of Office during Thursday's monthly school board meeting.