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Fuhrey salary $10K less than Mathews' contract

COVINGTON -- The next Newton County School System Superintendent will make nearly $10,000 less in salary and also receive less in benefits than the current superintendent.

Incoming Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey is expected to be paid an annual salary of $149,900, according to a contract approved by the Newton County Board of Education at its monthly meeting Tuesday. Current Superintendent Gary Mathews is paid an annual salary of $159,400, according to his contract, which was approved in March 2010.

According to the contract, increases in salary and benefits may be negotiated with or granted by the school board at any time and will be discussed each year at the time of the superintendent's evaluation; the board must evaluate and assess in writing the performance of the superintendent at least once a year during the term of the contract.

Fuhrey will receive $500 per month to defray automobile expenses in connection with travel associated with her duties, unlike Mathews, who receives $675 per month. She also will receive $7,000 per year toward a tax sheltered annuity of her choice; Mathews received $10,000 per year toward an annuity.

The board also pays for any additional premium or cost for coverage of the superintendent and her family to the state health benefit plan and for family coverage under the dental/hearing/optical plan available to employees of the school system; travel expenses in connection with the superintendent's duties; and dues for memberships to local, state and national professional and community organizations, the same as with Mathews' contract.

Fuhrey's contract doesn't include a technology section or a relocation section, like Mathews' did. The board provided Mathews with "appropriate technology to access the Internet, email and phone service remotely or at home for school system business."

When he relocated from Virginia to Newton County in 2010, he was paid $7,500 for expenses incurred in his move and up to $1,000 for a trip to visit Newton County and search for a new home, according to his contract.

Fuhrey's contract runs from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2016, after Mathews' contract expires June 30, , when he will retire. It may be renewed, extended or renegotiated at any time by a mutual agreement, and each year, at the time of and in connection with the superintendent's evaluation, the superintendent shall discuss whether to extended the contract or make any modifications, according to the contract.

The contract may be terminated by a mutual agreement of the parties, due to disability of the superintendent, through discharge for cause, by death of the superintendent or by termination by the board without cause.

Fuhrey earned her bachelor of science degree in secondary English from Marywood University in 1991 and her master's degree in educational leadership from State University of West Georgia in 2000. She added an education specialist's degree in educational leadership from Georgia College and State University in 2006.

Mathews earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Louisiana State University in 1975, a master's in educational administration from Loyola University in Louisiana in 1979 and an education specialist in educational administration and a Ph. D. in educational administration from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1981 and 1982, respectively. He also holds education certificates from The College of William & Mary, the University of Virginia and Harvard University.

School board member Eddie Johnson was the only board member to vote against Fuhrey's contract Tuesday. Johnson said in an email response Wednesday he had no comment to make when asked by he did not approve the contract.

He and fellow board member Almond Turner opposed the hiring of Fuhrey on May 14; however, Turner approved the contract Tuesday.

School board attorney Kent Campbell said Wednesday that despite Johnson not signing the contract, it is still approved, since the majority of the board approved it. He noted that not all board members signed Mathews' contract in 2010.