PARSONS - Tucker County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Eddie Campbell will receive a $36,000 pay raise over the next four years, county education officials confirmed this week.
Tucker County Board of Education President Jared Parsons said the pay hike was important to help attract and retain a quality superintendent for the county school system.
"We hired Dr. Eddie Campbell as the superintendent of schools and we want him to stay," Parsons said during a phone conversation with The Inter-Mountain Thursday. "It was important for us to increase the salary for that position to get it in line with the state average. The board felt that they wanted Campbell to stay."
The Tucker County BOE voted unanimously March 4 to extend Campbell's contract for an additional four years. Though it was not announced publicly, the contract includes a significant pay raise.
Board members voted to increase Campbell's salary from $89,303 for the current school year to $115,000 for the 2014-2015 school term, and approved a 3 percent raise for each of the next three years. Campbell will earn $118,450 in year two of the contract, $122,004 in year three and $125,664 in year four.
The Inter-Mountain received a message this week from a local resident upset that Campbell's raise was not mentioned publicly prior to the May 13 vote on a levy proposal for the Tucker school system.
The levy would have provided $240,000 each year for five years for school construction, repair and maintenance, technology expenses, textbooks and extracurricular activities. The levy was defeated by just two votes, according to the official vote tallies.
Contacted this week, Parsons and Campbell each said the proposed levy had no bearing on the superintendent's contract discussions or the salary increase.
Campbell's pay raise will place his salary next year at more than $15,000 higher than school superintendents in two bordering counties.
Dr. Joseph Super, the superintendent of Barbour County schools since 2011, was paid $95,000 in the current school year. Contacted by The Inter-Mountain this week, Super said he "did not ask for a raise" for the 2014-2015 school year.
Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Terry George served as the county's interim superintendent beginning in December 2012, and has been the superintendent since July. George just signed a three-year contract to remain in the position. His salary for the 2014-2015 school year will be $99,910; for the next year he will be paid $102,907.30; and for the third year he will make $105,994.52.
Tucker County has less than half as many public school students as Barbour County, and only a fourth as many as Randolph County. Tucker County has three public schools and a total of 1,028 students; Barbour County has nine schools with 2,552 students; and Randolph has 15 schools with 4,231 students.
Dave Lambert, director of finance for Tucker County schools, said Campbell fulfills a unique function within the Tucker school system.
"Dr. Campbell's job duties go well beyond that of most superintendents," Lambert said. "Dr. Campbell also serves as our personnel director and is heavily involved with the curriculum development and professional development in our schools.
"Most West Virginia counties have separate personnel directors that absorb another salary and position. This cost alone to our county would be between $60,000 to $80,000."
Lambert said the Tucker school system operates with three directors and one superintendent.
"Each goes well above the normal required job duties," Lambert said. "This is just another example of how the additional investment in our superintendent beats the alternative of adding additional positions and further increasing the cost to the county."
Lambert said the funding for Campbell's salary will come from the general fund and is a mixture of county and state aid funding.
"Historically, the county has funded the entire amount of the superintendent's salary without any assistance from the state aid formula," Lambert said. "Recently, we were able to include the superintendent's position under the state aid formula. This move allowed us to receive funding for the teacher salary equivalent of Dr. Campbell."
Lambert said Tucker County was "on the hook for the entire $89,303 Campbell earned in 2013 to 2014.
"For the coming year, Dr. Campbell will make $115,000. Of this $115,000, $54,024 will come from the state and $60,979 will come from the county. In the final, and largest, year of the contract, Dr. Campbell will make $125,664. Of this amount, the state will cover $55,784 and the county will contribute $69,880. So as you can see, by structuring the position the way we did, the burden on county funding has actually decreased with state assistance."
Campbell has become a highly sought after candidate in the state of West Virginia, Lambert said.
"He has quickly made an impact at the state level and his name has come up for multiple positions with other counties, state takeover counties, RESA and out-of-state positions," Lambert said. "Each of these positions offered larger salaries than year one of his contract, with some offering more than year four. Dr. Campbell expressed to me early on that his desire was to stay here and make Tucker County schools the best it could be."
Lambert added the Tucker County BOE has historically had the lowest-paid superintendent in the state. He said counties where the state has come in and taken over the school system paid superintendents more than $125,000, and said counties neighboring Tucker each paid their superintendents more than $110,000.
"Many counties offer the use of a county vehicle 24/7 and beefed-up benefits packages," Lambert said. "In order to stay competitive, we needed to adjust the way we were paying our superintendent. We simply could not expect to attract and keep the best while paying the least."
Campbell has served as Tucker's superintendent since July 2011. He said he and his family wanted to come back to West Virginia and they now want to stay in the area.
"We love Tucker County," Campbell told The Inter-Mountain this week. "We wanted to come to Tucker County to make our home. We love the area and the folks. My wife, son and I are happy here. I have had other opportunities for jobs making more money, but money is not always the deciding factor."
Campbell said he is happy with his contract and hopes to provide needed stability in the county. He said he feels good with the direction the school system is going and wants to complete programs being put into place.
"I understand what the Tucker County Board of Education members are trying to do," Campbell said. "They want to attract and retain quality teachers, principals and administrators in the county. I could not be happier that the Board wants me to stay."