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Cartwright's proposed contract with BCPS would run almost three years and pay $350K

Vickie Cartwright.jpeg
Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald
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Broward County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright attends a School Board meeting at the Kathleen C. Wright Administration Building in Fort Lauderdale on July 28.

Broward County Public Schools interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright is striking a compromise with administrators on her proposed contract to lead the district. During negotiations Tuesday, Cartwright agreed to a shorter term and a lower salary than she had hoped for.

Earlier this month, the board selected Cartwright to become the district's permanent superintendent, making her the first woman to hold the top role. She’s been the interim leader of BCPS since August.

After negotiating with school board Chair Laurie Rich Levinson, Cartwright is slated to lead the state’s second largest district through Dec. 31, 2024, with the option to renew. Under the nearly three-year contract, Cartwright is slated to make $350,000 a year.

That’s significantly less than what Cartwright had wanted. During Tuesday’s meeting, she initially pushed for $365,000 a year over the course of a four-year contract.

During negotiations, Cartwright’s attorney Maree Sneed argued that a shorter contract could undermine her ability to make changes in the district.

“We still think that’s a little short and is going to be challenging in terms of bringing about change. So we know some people will say, well we’ll have a new leader here. And that may be challenging,” Sneed said. “But we will agree with that for the sake of compromise.”

Cartwright’s proposed salary is within the range of the pay scales of other superintendents overseeing some of the state’s largest districts. But it’s less than what BCPS’ last leader made. Former Superintendent Robert Runcie was earning $356,000 when he resigned after being charged with felony perjury.

In neighboring Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the state’s largest district, superintendent Jose Dotres is drawing a $370,000 salary. Palm Beach County Superintendent Mike Burke, who was appointed in October, makes $300,000.

“When I look in comparison, Miami-Dade is a much larger district than Broward County. And Palm Beach, Orange, Hillsborough, other districts have much lower amounts. They’re closer to [$300,000 or $310,000],” said Levinson. “Due to the complexity of Broward County and the size, I think [$350,000] is very fair.”

Another point of contention for Cartwright was the amount BCPS would pay in to her retirement. Under the agreement, the district will contribute 7% of her base salary to a tax sheltered annuity, higher than the 5% that Levinson initially proposed.

Other benefits include medical, vision and dental insurance and a car from the district’s fleet.

Under the contract, Cartwright will also receive performance evaluations by the school board every nine months during meetings that will be open to the public.

The board is slated to hold a special meeting Thursday to review and finalize Cartwright’s contract.

Kate Payne is WLRN's education reporter