Details released on contract for new schools chief

LUMBERTON — Tommy Lowry, the newly named superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County, will paid be paid $180,000 annually under a three-year contract whose details were released on Wednesday.

Lowry will be the 28th highest paid superintendent in North Carolina, according to a database of superintendent contract compiled by television station WRAL. In a district with 24,023 students, Lowry will receive $7.50 per student. Using that ranking, Lowry drops to the 103rd best paid superintendent out of 115 in the state.

Lowry was offered the superintendent position on Aug. 6 after a 6-4 vote and signed the three-year contract during Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

Lowry’s predecessor, Johnny Hunt, was the 17th highest paid superintendent, earning $192,745 annually — about $8 per student.

The Public Schools of Robeson County is the 14th largest school district out of North Carolina’s 115 districts.

The contract expires June 30, 2018. It stipulates that if Lowry is unilaterally terminated by the board, he will receive one year’s salary as severance pay. The contract provides for the possibility of pay hikes, but not pay cuts.

Under the contract Lowry will receive a car that he may use for travel within Robeson County and for travel associated with his job. The board is responsible for the upkeep and travel expenses associated with the car. The car cannot be driven more than 20,000 miles annually.

The board will also supply Lowry with a “digital Smartphone or PDA, a home fax machine, office and home Internet access, printer/scanner, laptop computer or tablet, and other similar electronic devices for effective modern communication.” The contract also states that the maintenance and monthly charges for the equipment will also be at the expense of the board.

Other provisions in the contract include:

— The Board of Education must pay for an annual medical exam for the superintendent.

— The board can terminate the contract any time that it wishes after Aug. 1, 2016.

— Lowry and the board can mutually agree to amend the contract at any time.

— Lowry will receive the same leave, health insurance coverage, retirement and other benefits as a 12-month certified administrative employee.

— Lowry must be a member of various professional associations like the American Association of School Administrators and the North Carolina Association of School Administrators and should attend association meetings. The board will pay any membership fees associated with these groups.

— The board will reimburse the superintendent monthly for any expenses incurred. The board’s chairman will approve such expenses.

— Lowry should attend professional meetings at the local, state and national levels for professional development.

— The board will “defend, hold harmless and indemnify the superintendent from any and all demands, claims, suits, actions and legal proceedings brought against” him as an individual or as an official if the incident occurred while the superintendent “was acting within the scope of his employment.”

Lowry was hired after the board in a 6-5 vote offered the job to Rick Watkins, a longtime educator form Hamlet who now works at Wingate University. Watkins however withdrew his candidacy after some board members attacked him personally in open session. Watkins would not comment to The Robesonian, but said previously he felt as if his “integrity” had been attacked.

Tommy Lowry Lowry
Will be paid $180,000 a year

By Gabrielle Isaac

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Sarah Willets

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Gabrielle can be reached at 910-816-1989 or on Twitter @news_gabbie. Sarah can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.


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