In the June 27 edition of the Extra, the story about Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III's raise should have made clear that the Loudoun School Board voted on only his salary increase at a meeting last week. Additional compensation, including yearly contributions to Hatrick's pension and life insurance plans and a monthly car allowance, are part of his contract and do not require an annual vote. (Published 7/1/04)
The Loudoun County School Board voted Thursday to give Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III a 5.5 percent raise, bringing his annual base salary to $193,856. The raise matches the percent increases awarded to other administrators in the school system this year and is similar to the raise he received last year.
The vote came after the board spent four hours evaluating Hatrick behind closed doors.
Hatrick, 58, is entering the third year of a four-year contract, but he has been the system's superintendent since 1991. A graduate of Loudoun County High School, he has spent his entire 38-year career as a teacher or administrator in the county's public schools.
The board also agreed to contribute $15,000 to Hatrick's pension plan and $5,000 toward his life insurance policy -- the same amounts he received last year. His monthly car allowance will rise 4 percent from $750 to $780, an amount specified in his contract.
In recent years, Hatrick has presided over one of the fastest growing school systems in the country, guiding the construction of dozens of schools to house thousands of new students. The school system faces an increasingly diverse student population, including growing numbers of students whose first language is not English.
Newly arrived suburban parents also have been demanding higher-level programs. Over the last several years, county schools have added more Advanced Placement courses in high schools and Spanish classes in elementary schools.
Hatrick was also recently elected president of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents.
Board members said they saw the package as fair compensation for a job well done.
"As a parent, as a School Board member and as a member of the business community, I couldn't be more pleased with public education in Loudoun," said board Chairman John A. Andrews II (Potomac).
This year, Hatrick was a vocal participant in an at times tense battle over school funding. He was unabashed about calling on parents to lobby the Board of Supervisors for school funding, prompting some to complain that he was taking on too political a role.
Hundreds of parents answered, however, packing a public hearing in the auditorium at Heritage High School to show support, some holding signs that read, "Hatrick Knows. Listen."
The $469 million operating budget that resulted from the process was $7.2 million less than the one adopted by the School Board, a cut far less than school advocates had feared.
Hatrick's salary was adopted by the board unanimously for the first time in years. School Board member J. Warren Geurin (Sterling), who has voted against raises for Hatrick on four previous occasions, voted for the salary increase this year. He said he was swayed by what he felt was the reasonable size of the increase and by visible improvements in the school system over the last year.
"It shows budget restraint on our part, but it also shows reasonable reward for outstanding progress," Geurin said. "If they were not taxpayer dollars -- if it were John Andrews's personal bank account instead -- we might be a lot higher."
Hatrick said he was pleased to have the board's support. "When the board can reach consensus and come to a unanimous agreement, I think it speaks well for our relationship," he said.
He also said he appreciated the board's frank critique during his closed-door evaluation, calling the feedback "very, very valuable."
Board member Bob Ohneiser (Broad Run), who has at times been critical of the superintendent, said the board discussed negotiating a new contract with Hatrick when the current one elapses, with the idea that he could stay with the system until he retires.
"He's ingrained in the system," Ohneiser said. "To make believe that the transition of getting a new person would be productive is an absurdity."
Although this year's and last year's salary increases have been similar to other school system employees, in years past Hatrick's salary has experienced hefty boosts. Over the last five years, it has increased almost 50 percent. He is the highest paid county government employee.
School Board members said they were trying to make his salary more comparable to similarly sized systems in the region. In Howard County, where the 47,000-student enrollment most closely matches Loudoun's, Superintendent John O'Rourke made about $197,000 last year. He recently stepped down from the job, and his successor's salary has not yet been set.
Elsewhere, Andre J. Hornsby makes $250,000 as chief of the Prince George's County school system, while Jack D. Dale, who will take over as head of Fairfax County schools this week, will receive $237,000.