Board of Education mulls over director contract

Elizabeth Trexler News-Herald

In a marathon meeting Thursday night, the Loudon County Board of Education discussed some difficult decisions, including contract options for the new director.

Jason Vance, who was chosen by the board last month drafted the contract which initially asked for $113,120 a year for four years. He also asked the board to cover his children's health insurance. "I didn't expect that to be bottom line for that board," Vance later stated.

"I felt that would be a good place to get started," Vance told the board, saying the job description doesn't change with current Director of Schools Wayne Honeycutt leaving. Honeycutt is currently making about $113,120 per year.

"If anything this job is going to be more difficult," he added, pointing out the school building project is on the horizon.

However, Bill Marcus, a board member, said he thought Vance's salary should be under $100,000.

Another point of contention at the meeting was the number of days Central Office is open.

The office is currently closed any time the schools are closed, and they work on a 240-day contract.

"It is inappropriate for our Central Office to be closed when the schools are closed," board member Bill Marcus told the board. "Our office should be open."

Board member Gary Ubben told the board that was something that bothered him as well.

The board then turned to another point in the contract, that was not included in Honeycutt's contract: Tenure.

"I have earned my tenure rights in Loudon County," Vance, who currently serves as assistant director of schools said.

Vance voiced concern about what would happen if the board decided they did not extend his contract.
"I'm not asking to be placed back in Central Office," Vance said. He told the board he would accept another teaching role or an administrative role.

His pay would be based on the role, not his pay as director of schools.

One thing missing from this contract is a residency requirement. Vance currently lives in Monroe County.

"He lives four miles from me," Leroy Tate, board member, said.

"He can be at the school in 10 minutes," said board member William Jenkins.

Another issue concerning the director of schools was the transition out for Honeycutt.

"The board owes Mr. Honeycutt some gratitude," Chairman Scott Newman said. He brought the option up of having Honeycutt go to graduation and do other "public relations" work, but having Vance go ahead and take over the budget and personnel decisions.

"I don't want to do anything that is disrespectful to Mr. Honeycutt," Newman said, but he would like the budget to be Vance's work.

"They've worked things out, anything we do is going to muddy the water," Ubben said.

"I can assure you there have been no issues between us," Honeycutt said. He told the board he is gradually turning over responsibilities to Vance.

Marcus brought up the fact that Vance has duties to perform with his current role as assistant director of schools, and voiced concern about putting more work on him.