What will Bibb Schools pay its new superintendent?

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Bibb School Superintendents Curtis Jones and Dan Sims

The Bibb County Board of Education approved a contract for incoming Bibb Schools Superintendent Dan Sims in a split vote last week.

The contract passed in a 6-2 vote at the regular monthly meeting May 19. The meeting was not livestreamed.

The Macon Newsroom obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act copies of the contract for Sims as well as the initial agreement approved seven years ago for soon-to-retire Superintendent Curtis Jones.

The contracts are similar but contain a few key differences, notably in starting salary.

Jones had been school superintendent at Griffin-Spalding County Schools for six years and was a finalist for the 2015 Georgia Superintendent of the Year award before he was hired to lead Bibb Schools. In contrast, this will be Sims’ first superintendent job.

The Bibb BOE hired Jones at a starting salary of $210,000 in April 2015. When adjusted for inflation, that is equivalent to a present day salary of $256,600, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index inflation calculator. Jones made about $162,150 during his final full-year of employment as superintendent of Griffin-Spalding schools.

Jones was named 2019 National Superintendent of the Year. His contract was renewed and extended with a salary increase to no less than $300,000. Last year, Jones made $409,570, according to the state’s public salary database, open.ga.gov.

Sims’ starting salary will be $250,000, which is roughly equivalent to an April 2015 salary of $204,600, according to the inflation calculator. At his most recent job, Sims made a base salary of $163,239 as one of five associate superintendents for Atlanta Public Schools, according to a compensation statement obtained under the open records act from APS for fiscal year 2021-2022.

Board members Lisa Garrett and Daryl Morton voted against the contract for Sims.

Morton was the only board member to offer comments during the vote.

In short, Morton said the two superintendents do not have comparable experience to justify a comparable salary.

Sims was hired by APS in 2016 and made a starting salary of $141,400, according open.ga.gov. He worked as a principal in Fulton County Schools before that for a salary of about $129,000, according to open.ga.gov.

Most details included in the three-year contracts for both Bibb Superintendents are the same and include a $800 per month allowance for in-county travel, a $1 million life insurance policy, health insurance and tax sheltered annuity benefits.

However, there are a few differences.

Jones, of Griffin, never established legal residency in Bibb County. Bibb Schools spokeswoman Stephanie Hartley said Jones rented an apartment in Macon for the first few years and he commutes to work from Spalding County.

Sims, a native of East Point, said he plans to move his family here next year after his daughter graduates from high school. At a BOE meeting in May, Sims told The Macon Newsroom that he found a place to stay here until then.

The employment contract says Bibb Schools will reimburse Sims for the cost of moving his family from Atlanta to Macon but no dollar amount or time frame is mentioned. The district agreed to reimburse Sims for the cost of relocating based on the lowest of three estimates he obtains from reputable moving firms.

Another difference between the leaders’ contracts is that Sims will be paid for the time he works for the district before the official start of his contract. The contract states the district will pay Sims a prorated amount of his annual salary for up to 15 days he works before his July 1 start date. It is unclear when Sims resigned from APS.

To contact Civic Journalism Fellow Laura Corley, call 478-301-5777 or email [email protected]