Hicks, TCS sign four-year contractPublished 9:53pm Monday, June 2, 2014
Less than 24 hours before he was scheduled to interview with another school district, Dr. Lee Hicks signed a four-year contract to continue as superintendent of Troy City Schools.
“In talking with my family, I feel like it’s the right decision to stay here and finish what I’ve started,” Hicks said on Monday.
Hicks was scheduled to interview today with the Phenix City Board of Education for the open superintendent’s job. The opportunity arose last week, after Charles Henderson High School football coach and athletic director Jamey Dubose left to be head football coach at Central High School in Phenix City.
“We didn’t have a contract finalized with Dr. Hicks, so they came after him,” said Wally Lowery, Troy City Schools board of education president. “Like I said earlier, people are going to come after us when we have success, from our marching band to our athletic programs to our graduation rates. They want what we have.”
Lowery said the board had been working through the contract renewal process since February. Hicks’ original three-year contract expires June 30, although a one-year automatic extension kicked in when the board failed to provide a new contract by Jan. 1, 2014.
“This has been going on for a while,” Lowery said. “We’re dealing with issues, just like any other school system, but we were trying to do it in a timely manner. But when you’ve got a school system that’s desperate, who doesn’t have a superintendent, that kick starts you … we were blind-sided when Phenix City came after him.”
Hicks’ contract was ratified on a 4-1 vote of the board during Monday’s called meeting, with Lowery; Mark Salmon; Eva Green; and Roxie Kitchens voting in favor of the contract. Board member Jason Thomas abstained, saying he did not feel he had enough input in the contract-setting process to vote.
Salmon, who worked with Green on the committee to develop the contract, said while the process had taken a “different” turn since Friday’s interview announcement, the end result is a good contract for both Hicks and the district. “What we have going in the Troy City Schools is a good thing. What we’ve tried to show here tonight is support for the successes and accomplishments achieved by Troy City Schools in the last few years and that we want to continue that trend moving forward.”
And, Salmon said, Hicks’ decision to accept the contract shows his commitment to following through on the goals and vision of the board.
“We have a superintendent who is here because he wants to be,” Salmon said. “It’s not about the money.”
Hicks’ new, four-year contract includes a base salary of $122,000, an increase of $7,000 from his previous base. “There’s no way we could compete with what Phenix City could offer to pay,” Lowery said. “We never changed anything on our contract. What we gave Dr. Hicks was a four-year commitment, and that’s what we stood by.”
Hicks said his decision to stay in Troy was driven largely by the community support he’s seen. “There’s no doubt with the community support and the city’s support we can definitely accomplish what need to do.”
Ultimately, Lowery said the finalization of the contract lets the board and administration focus on moving forward.
“It was huge tonight,” Lowery said. “It shows Lee Hicks is committed to Troy City Schools and we’re committed to him and to moving forward.”