Harner’s annual salary will start at $175,000, reported Atty. Jeffrey Garton, the board’s solicitor. He said a $12,000 bonus pool will be available as additional compensation, based on Harner’s performance.
Garton said the board could terminate Harner’s contract after two years, but that would require a “super majority vote” and the superintendent would be paid one year as compensation.
The only no vote was cast by board member Robert Smith, who said he had “some real heartburn” about the new superintendent’s contract.
“It’s higher than we should have had to pay,” said Smith.
He said Harner will be getting considerable more than other superintendents are being paid. For example, he said East Penn School District in Lehigh County has hired a new superintendent at a starting salary of $165,000.
Smith also said the school board members never received a copy of the contract that they could review and faced “an artificial time period; it’s got to be done tonight. I really have some heartburn about the process, how this played out.”
Board president Paul Stephanoff stressed Harner is receiving 12 percent less than Dr. Lisa Andrejko would be earning if she had not retired as superintendent.
“To have a contract that saves the district 12 percent over the cost of the previous contract is a monumental thing in Bucks County. It just doesn’t happen.”
Stephanoff said the most any area school district has been able to negotiate down from a prior contract to a new contract was 10 percent.
Harner is the former acting head of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Nancianne Edwards, the district’s director of human resources for 11 years, was promoted to assistant superintendent, at an annual salary of $148,000.
Her promotion unanimously was approved by the board.
The board approved the resignation of Cynthia Lapinski as principal of Strayer Middle School. Several people praised Lapinski as a dedicated educator and “a wonderful person.”
And it learned that Tom Murray, the district’s director of technology and cyber education, is leaving for another job.
Murray, who was at the meeting, received praise from the new superintendent and Smith – followed by a standing ovation from the board.
Murray began his career as a teacher at Neidig Elementary School in Quakertown, then became that school’s principal.
School security committee
Stephanoff proposed creating the ad hoc committee on school security.
He said the committee will have two tasks: to learn specifics about what the district is doing to prevent acts of violence in its schools and to review, modify or develop a plan addressing how the district and local authorities respond “to an active act of school violence.”
He said that will require talking to all the municipalities and police forces that have jurisdiction over the district’s schools.
Stephanoff said meetings of the committee will not be open to the public because of the sensitive nature of what would be discussed regarding school security.
Board member Fern Strunk suggested the district administration and school principals should do some groundwork on the issue first. “That would be a good idea,” agreed Stephanoff. “They can have them do that before we meet for the first time.”
Stephanoff said the committee should have school board representatives from different areas of the district.
He named himself chairman and said he will represent Richland and Haycock townships, as well as Richlandtown. Board member Charles Shermer volunteered to represent Quakertown and Strunk volunteered to represent Milford Township.