PHOTO: Jason Golden (center) takes part in a conversation with Williamson County Schools board members Eric Welch (left) and Dan Cash during the work session Thursday night. / Photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
Despite engaging in a lengthy discussion that lasted the better part of an hour, members of the Williamson County Schools Board of Education did little to alter the contract it plans to present to Jason Golden to become the next WCS superintendent.
The four-year contract, which calls for an annual salary of $270,504, the use of a school board-provided automobile and a full range of benefits, will be formally presented to Golden at the school board’s June meeting Monday night at the Williamson County Administrative Complex. Board members went over the details of the contract during Thursday night’s work session, and decided to change only two main items in the seven-page document.
The main sticking point was in a section of the contract titled Referrals to the Director, which reads, “The Board, collectively or individually, shall promptly refer to the Director all criticisms, complaints, and suggestions called to their attention relative to the Director of Williamson County Schools for the Director’s study and recommendation.”
Most members thought the word “all” was too broad and that every little incident didn’t need to go to Golden’s immediate attention, so the group decided to scratch the word.
“Our goal is to collaborate closely and do everything we can to support the success of our superintendent and the schools and the constituents we represent,” said Candy Emerson, 8th District. “I am so excited about the potential our new superintendent is bringing not only to his role but to our ability to get a lot of things done in a very healthy environment… You have a superintendent whose door is always open and you can always talk to him about things that you have concerns about. He is not only very competent but he’s a man of character. For me, that’s a huge, huge part of the role he plays and he does it well.”
The other change the board made to the contract was the date that Golden had to move from his current home in Maury County to somewhere in Williamson. The contract states that Golden would need to establish residence in Williamson County by Oct. 1, but the date was moved to Jan. 1, 2020, to give him more time to have modifications made to his current home to make it more marketable.
Once the contract was worked out, Golden told members one of his plans for future work sessions.
“If you choose to hire me on Monday,” he said, “one of the things I want to spend more time working on in work sessions is the strategic plan. We have seven or eight strategic plan action step memos in the board packet. As I thought about this, I worry that sometimes our descriptions of those action steps in isolation really don’t give you perspective on where we are on board goals as a whole.”
Golden also talked about the 2019-20 school budget that the Williamson County Board of Commissioners will vote on at its July 8 meeting.
“I remain cautiously optimistic about the operational budget [of $386,248,331],” he said. “The county commission has acknowledged the specific need to increase the competitiveness of our teacher salaries as critical for us. I’ve got to say, we’ve come close to waiting for a crisis before we ask for a change and so one of the things we’re going to talk about is being more intentional about how we go through that process.”
“The competition is going to ratchet up. Tennessee is an importer of teachers. What I mean by that is, there is a greater need for teachers every year than all Tennessee colleges to produce. For us to fill every teacher position in this state, we have to bring in teachers from out of state.”
Golden has served as interim superintendent since May 22, when former Superintendent Mike Looney left to become director of Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. Golden has been with WCS since 2006 and was deputy superintendent for the last seven years.