School board to vote on superintendent contract 

ACPS Superintendent Shane Andrews speaks
ACPS Superintendent Shane Andrew speaks at a Westwood Middle School wall raising.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow

The School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) is set to vote on a new contract for Superintendent Shane Andrew at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. The contract has been amended since the last time the board saw it, reducing Andrew’s proposed salary by $35,000. 

A renegotiation of Andrew’s contract first came up in October, when the board canceled a national search for a new superintendent on a split vote. After the search for his successor was canceled, Andrew asked the board for a re-negotiated contract that reflects a regular superintendent’s contract. 

The board was set to discuss the new contract in a December meeting, but tabled it after board and district attorneys clarified that Andrew is not currently an interim superintendent, as the state does not recognize such a title. 

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Andrew’s current contract, approved in May 2022, provides a $175,000 salary with an $800 transportation stipend. The contract also states that if the board were to terminate him from his position as superintendent, he would be placed back in his role as director of operations with the matching salary. 

When asking the board for a new contract, Andrew noted that most superintendents have a guarantee of severance pay. 

The new proposed contract draft, whose term lasts through June 2027, includes 20 weeks of severance if the superintendent were terminated without cause. 

The current draft contract proposes a $190,000 salary, applied retroactively to July 1, 2023. The contract also includes an $800 transportation stipend and a $2,000 special qualification salary if he completes continuing education as prescribed by the Florida Department of Education. 

Andrew will also receive the same automatic “step” percentage increase as all district administrative employees each year, if the majority of board members rate him effective or highly effective. 

Board member Kay Abbitt said she expects Tuesday’s meeting to be well-attended by people speaking for and against Andrew’s permanent contract. 

Abbitt was one of the three board members who voted to cancel the national search in October, and she maintains her position that a search would not bring quality candidates. 

“They’re not going to come to a district where a board is so disjointed. Our board, we don’t work together well at all,” Abbitt said in a phone interview. “A superintendent’s not going to do that. And so, for right now, Superintendent Andrew is, in my mind, the best choice for what we need right now.” 

Abbitt said she wants to see incentives for the superintendent based on successful completion of projects, such as moving schools out of Supplemental Instruction (SI) status and getting the International Baccalaureate Program at Williams Elementary School running. 

Board Member Tina Certain said she has concerns both about Andrew’s permanence and the details of his contract. She said Andrew earned almost all of his experience while in the office of superintendent, as his predecessor Carlee Simon promoted him from principal to chief of operations in 2021. He was in that position for less than a year before the board fired Simon and tapped him to fill her shoes

Andrew also served as the district’s executive director of facilities from 2013-2016 before becoming principal of Eastside High School. 

Certain said the school board gave Andrew three priorities to work on when it promoted him to superintendent: student achievement, strategic planning and rezoning. The district earned an overall “B” from the state in its latest report card, though a learning gap still exists between high- and low-performing students. 

Certain said Andrew did not bring any movement to strategic planning until June 2023. Andrew also recommended a switch from spot rezoning to comprehensive rezoning in April 2023, then recommended against approval of the most recent rezoning process, postponing the new zoning until the 2025-26 school year. 

Certain said Andrew has not fulfilled those board directives, so it does not make sense to retroactively apply a pay raise to the superintendent’s work since July. She said Andrew has instead pursued a “personal agenda,” including the use of Williams for an IB program in the midst of financial challenges. 

Certain also took issue with the $190,000 life insurance policy on Andrew’s draft contract, which she said is $90,000 more than what has typically been offered. He has also asked for a second retirement account at 10% of his pay. 

“I’m a tad bit perplexed that we’re here,” Certain said in a phone interview. “And to me, I see his move as feathering his nest and doing what is important, what benefits him, versus looking out for the wellbeing of the district, which is what my position is. That’s what I’m responsible for.” 

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