The Oak Ridge Board of Education unanimously approved a four-year contract with new superintendent Bruce Borchers in a short special meeting Monday.
Borchers will be paid $178,000 per year, and he starts June 18, said Bob Eby, school board vice chair.
“We’ve got a top-notch superintendent that can take us to the next level,” Eby said. He led the contract negotiations on behalf of the board with the help of Oak Ridge Schools Human Resources Director Christine Lee and school attorney Larry Giordano.
Board of Education Chair Keys Fillauer said Borchers had signed the contract before Monday’s 10-minute school board meeting, making it official once the board approved it.
The board agreed to offer the job to Borchers on April 1 and start negotiations. Borchers is now superintendent of the Rockwood School District in Eureka, Mo.
A few questions have been raised about Borchers’ tenure in Eureka. But Oak Ridge school and executive search firm officials have suggested Eureka has a difficult political environment.
Eby and Fillauer seemed satisfied that the school board and its executive search firm had conducted a comprehensive evaluation of Borchers, including his time in Eureka.
“Our search team, Ray and Associates, provided us all the information,” Fillauer said. “We found nothing that we felt would prohibit us from offering him the job of superintendent of Oak Ridge Schools, and we feel like we have a great superintendent on board.”
“The board is fully satisified,” Eby said.
Eby said Borchers didn’t ask for anything unreasonable during contract negotiations over a position that is the equivalent of a chief executive officer at a $50 million-per-year business.
Among other things, the board agreed to provide Borchers, who has a young family, a basic $50,000 life insurance policy plus a $200,000 supplemental policy based upon proof of insurability. The board previously provided a $50,000 policy. The additional coverage, which could be considered a standard coverage amount, based upon salary, will only cost the school district an extra $600 or so per year, Eby said.
The board will also allow Borchers to continue to stay involved in the Education Research and Development Institute of Homer Glen, Ill., as long as it doesn’t interfere with his job, Eby said. He said the relationship could be good for Oak Ridge Schools.
Bob Smallridge, a former Oak Ridge Schools superintendent, is serving as interim superintendent, and he will work through June 30.
The last superintendent, Tom Bailey, retired at the end of the year. He had been superintendent since 2002.