Nelson County School Board renews Orr’s contract through 2018

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By Jennifer Corbett

Anthony Orr will remain superintendent of Nelson County Schools through 2018.

With a vote of three to two, Nelson County School Board members recently agreed to offer Orr a renewed contract, which Orr said he expects so sign.

His current contract will end in June 2014.

Despite the split vote, board members were supportive of Orr’s work. But some had issues with some of the details in the contract.

Orr’s new contract, which is being written by an attorney, will run from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2018.

“I look forward to continue working with the fantastic staff we have in Nelson County,” Orr said after the board voted to renew his contract.

As part of his contract renewal, Orr will receive a step increase in pay in July 2015. A step increase is based on an employee’s years of service.

In addition to the step increase, Orr will also receive a base salary increase of $5,000 in July 2015 or when he completes his doctorate at Northern Kentucky University in May 2015. His current salary is $112,500.

Board members Damon Jackey, Larry Pate and Nicky Rapier voted in favor of the contract renewal, while Frank Hall and Diane Berry voted against it.

Board members unanimously agreed that they wanted to keep Orr as superintendent and are in favor of the work he is doing, but some disagreed with the increase in salary and the length of Orr’s new contract.

“Even though this was a three to two vote, what I hear is all five of us support the work that’s going on,” Jackey said during the meeting. “The work we’re seeing from the superintendent is what we’re expecting.”

Instead of increasing Orr’s salary, Hall said he would rather the district be more conservative with its funds.

“We did that against future pay raises,” Hall said of the school board opting to pay for Orr’s doctoral program. “I supported that. That was the pay raise. I would hold to that and other parts of the contract exactly as they are.”

According to Rapier, the percentage of Orr’s pay increase in 2015 is comparable to teachers’ salary increases.

Berry said her main concern was not money or Orr’s job performance thus far, but rather the length of Orr’s new contract.

“I don’t want anybody to think it’s not that I don’t support what’s being done,” Berry said of her voting against Orr’s contract renewal. “I feel like Anthony is doing the job we expected him to do.”

But, according to Berry, Orr’s contract shouldn’t last four years, because she has witnessed past administrations become complacent during a superintendent’s four-year term and the district suffered because of it. And she doesn’t want to see it happen again.

“This is the only reason that it’s a negative for me,” Berry said of Orr’s new contract. “Anthony has done a great job. As I’ve said, I’ve went through two administrations, working in one. I saw the decline and the board did nothing.”

Most board members, though, agreed Orr should receive a raise and his contract should last four years.

“This shows that the faith and confidence in the work as a collective group,” Jackey said to Orr during the meeting. “I do believe it is the faith we have in you and the work you’re doing. I believe we need to make sure, as a district, everybody sees we support the work you’re doing moving forward.”