JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens gets four-year contract extens - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens gets four-year contract extension

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens will keep her job another four years, despite concerns by some school board members who felt they were being rushed into a decision.

Ultimately, the school board voted 6-1 to keep Hargens in Louisville through June 2019. She will continue to make $276,000 annually.

Board member Linda Duncan cast the opposing vote, saying she wasn't comfortable with a four-year extension because issues brought up during Hargens' 2014 evaluation have not yet been addressed.

“I think we need to see where we are (with those issues) before we automatically grant a four-year contract renewal,” Duncan said. "I think people that she supervises, those people should have some kind of opportunity of how they perceive the leadership of the district."

The four-year contract extension was placed on the board agenda less than a week ago. 

Board member Chris Brady made a motion to table making a decision on Hargens' contract for two weeks so that the board could gather feedback from community stakeholders. That motion was supported by board members Stephanie Horne and Duncan.

School board chairman David Jones Jr. disagreed with the motion, saying it was the board's "responsibility" to vote on the measure. Board members Diane Porter, Chuck Haddaway agreed with Jones and at the last minute, so did Lisa Willner.

After the vote, Hargens said she has the "best job in Louisville."

"I appreciate the support," said Hargens, who has declined annual salary increases provided in her original contract and did not request an increase while negotiating this new contract.

She also asked for a deletion of a clause that calls for the district to “provide (her) with computer equipment, cellular telephone, high speed Internet services and other necessary communications services that will allow (her) to perform her duties of the office while at home or traveling.”

Duncan, who noted Hargens' emails and communication would still be subject to open records, asked why Hargens wanted the language removed from her contract.

“The way I felt, why should the district pay for my internet at home?” Hargens asked.

The school board began Hargens' annual evaluation process in closed session last month.

The board had not been able to discuss a possible extension until its two new members -- Horne and Willner -- took office in January.

Hargens came to JCPS from the Wake County, N.C., school district in August 2011.

Over the next few months, the board will begin to put together Hargens' performance evaluation, which will be made public in June.

Last June, school board members applauded Hargens' efforts to improve outcomes for all students in a primarily positive evaluation.

But they also said she must do a better job at communicating with them and with stakeholders. Specifically, they wanted Hargens to have a "focused effort to proactively communicate internally and externally the accomplishments of JCPS students and the extraordinary work of the staff."

This is the first year the school board will use the new, state-approved evaluation process called the Superintendent Professional Growth and Effectiveness System.


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