Hazel to make $225K, mirrors Shumate’s salary

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, June 26, 2024

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Troup County School System’s new Superintendent, Dr. Rachel Hazel is set to start the job on July 1. LDN received a copy of Hazel’s contract through the school district. Hazel will be paid a base salary of $225,000 per year for the job. It is a three-year contract unless it is extended or terminated before June 30, 2027.

This mirrors the contract of the current superintendent, Dr. Brian Shumate, received in 2019. He was also given a base pay of $225,000 when hired. Shumate’s contract was a large increase in pay from the superintendent prior, Cole Pugh, who in FY18 was paid a little over $167,000. 

Of the neighboring counties of Merriweather, Caroll, Coweta, Harris and Heard, Troup Superintendent pay ranks third highest, according to OpenGeorgia.org. The Carroll and Coweta County Superintendents made $266,895.83 and $300,559.44, in 2023 respectively.

When attracting a new superintendent, Brandon Brooks, Chairman of the School Board, said, “There was a matrix that we used in formulating that contract…We wanted to be competitive within our region but we also were looking for someone that had a proven record of success. So those were the two key elements.”

TCSD serves roughly 12,200 students and has 1,800 employees. In comparison, Carroll County has 15,981 students and Coweta County has roughly 23,000 students. Harris, Heard and Merriweather all have less than 6,000 students in their districts. 

The base salary is subject to fluctuations depending on funding from the state, federal, and county governments and other revenue sources. The superintendent can receive an additional salary if the Georgia State Legislature approves an education salary increase for the position. 

Based on a “satisfactory evaluation” the contract can be extended each year for a period of one year. However, the term of the contract can not be extended beyond three years. 

The superintendent is entitled to all benefits of an annual TCSS employee, including leave, retirement and health insurance. Hazel will be paid an extra $700 a month for mileage and vehicle expenses and $10,000 for relocation expenses from Florida. Hazel will also be required to live in Troup County during her tenure. 

This is a decrease in the amount from the former superintendent, Dr. Brian Shumate, who received $900 per month, according to his initial contract in 2019, and a $14,000 relocation allowance from Oregon.

As the contract states the mileage expense, “Is to permit the Superintendent to visit the various school and administrative sites and adequately oversee the Board’s operations.”

The board is authorized to reimburse “reasonable expenses” for travel and logging for professional conferences and meetings. 

The board is required to do an annual performance review of the superintendent, which is done in executive session. A written copy of the evaluation will be provided to the Superintendent.  

The contract can be terminated before the three years are up. A majority vote by the Board can terminate the contract and remove the superintendent from office for a breach of contract. If this happens, TCSD is only required to pay the accrued salary and benefits through the date of termination. 

The board can also unilaterally terminate, without cause or justification. In the event of unilateral termination, the board would have to pay the base pay for the remainder of the contract, up to a year after the termination.

Should the new superintendent retire or resign they are to give a minimum of 180 days notice. 

“We are super excited about Dr. Hazel taking us to the next level of excellence and our desire, as well as Dr Hazel’s, I know, is that continued upward trajectory of positive scores, culture continue in Troup County,” Brooks said.