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School chief has contract extended
Evans also gets a raise
Evans Buster NEW
Superintendent Buster Evans - photo by Submitted
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Also at Thursday’s meeting, the Forsyth County school board approved the following:

• Keeping the school district’s millage rate at 15.395 mills for maintenance and operations and 1.418 for debt service. The board was able to do so, members said, because of budget cuts by staff. A mill is equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value.

• Buying 70 Promethean ActivExpression Student Assessment and Response systems for the district’s five new schools at a cost of $139,650. Officials said the handheld devices are a comfortable way for students to get into the curriculum.

• A new policy for naming facilities. Most of the policy includes unwritten rules already in effect. Of note, a living person cannot be considered for a facility name.

— Jennifer Sami

Under his watch, Forsyth County Schools made adequate yearly progress for the first time in four years.

But that was just one reason Superintendent Buster Evans received a raise and contract extension through 2012.

“We didn’t increase the millage rate, our test scores are through the roof and he’s just done a phenomenal job,” said Ann Crow, who chairs the local school board. “We think the world of him ... he’s a valuable component of our school system and our community as a whole.”

Evans’ boost from about $162,000 to about $170,000 was discussed Thursday during the board’s executive session.

After about five months serving as deputy superintendent under predecessor Paula Gault, Evans took over as superintendent on Jan. 1, 2008.

When Evans signed his contract, Crow said there was an understanding that his base pay would be increased in the next contract.

In addition to his annual salary, the system will continue to pay contributions to the teacher retirement system and $22,000 annually toward his tax-sheltered annuity.

The system will also cover the premium in purchasing the maximum amount of term insurance, long-term disability insurance and other benefits available to all school system employees.

In addition, Evans will receive free state health insurance, including dental and vision coverage, for himself and his family.

He also is entitled for travel reimbursements of up to $500 a month plus mileage. Last year, that amounted to more than $7,000.

State audits from 2008 show about 40 superintendents in the state are paid more than Evans.

In districts with fewer than 40,000 students, Evans is among the lowest paid. Nearby Gwinnett County, whose school district is the largest in the state, paid its superintendent nearly $344,000.

“We felt like, at the time, this was what we needed to do monetarily with the economy the way it is,” Crow said. “But he certainly is worth far beyond many superintendents, so we did what we could at the moment.

“He’s just done an outstanding job and we felt like his salary needed to reflect that.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at jennifersami@forsythnews.com.