A look at the $132K contract for New Hanover County Schools’ new interim superintendent

Updated: Mar. 2, 2020 at 2:14 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - After a turbulent start to 2020, the New Hanover County Board of Education hired Dr. Del Burns at the end of February to take over as interim superintendent, with hope the longtime educator can help right the ship.

The move to hire Burns came nearly three weeks after former Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley and the school board reached a separation agreement that allowed the board to end Markley’s contract nearly a year and a half early. In exchange, the board had to pay Markley around $226,000 in severance and accrued benefits.

Monday, the school district released a copy of Burns’ contract (which can be viewed in full at the bottom of this story) in response to a public records request filed by WECT. The agreement runs from Monday, March 2 through Sept. 2, unless Burns or the board decide to end it, which is allowed with one-day notice.

According to the contract, Burns will work an average of 29.5 hours per week and not exceed an average of 30 hours a week. He will be paid $22,100 per month, meaning he could earn up to $132,600 over the six-month agreement. His salary will be prorated, however, for any partial months of employment.

By comparison, Markley’s annual salary at the time of his resignation was $215,000.

The contract stipulates that Burns is responsible for any costs and expenses associated with commuting to and from his home, as well as his travel within New Hanover County. It also states he is not eligible for employee benefits such as sick leave, annual vacation leave or longevity.

Notably, the contract addresses Burns’ work as an education consultant, with specific language ensuring no conflict of interest arise between that work and his role as interim superintendent.

“Dr. Burns expressly agrees to refrain from advertising himself as an employee of the New Hanover County Board of Education when providing consulting services; however, Dr. Burns is not prevented from disclosing the fact of his employment with the New Hanover County Board of Education or other information classified by law as public record, or from including his employment with the New Hanover County Board of Education on a resume, curriculum vitae, or similar document describing his professional background,” the contract reads.

Burns has served as interim superintendent for six other North Carolina school districts since his retirement as superintendent of Wake County Schools in 2010.

The New Hanover County Board of Education has previously said it is conducting a national search to find a permanent superintendent.

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