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July 12, 2014

School chief to get contract offer this week

HAVERHILL — The School Committee plans to offer Superintendent James Scully a three-year contract extension this week, Committee member Scott Wood said.

Wood, one of two committee members negotiating with the superintendent, would not discuss salary numbers, but said the offer will be for three years and include an increase to the superintendent’s $185,000 annual salary.

“It’s a good offer for taxpayers and a fair offer for the superintendent,” Wood said of the committee’s pitch. “It doesn’t include everything he wanted, but I’m optimistic we will finalize a new agreement this week.”

Wood stressed the superintendent oversees more employees than any other department head and that he has not had a pay raise in three years. Scully’s existing contract expired June 30.

Scully said he wants to remain in charge of the district for at least three more years. He said his priorities include improving MCAS scores, seeing the new Hunking School built correctly and raising expectations for students and teachers at all city schools.

The new, $61.5 million kindergarten to grade 8 Hunking School is expected to open to students in 2017.

“I told the (School Committee) I don’t have to stay, but that I’d like to,” Scully said. “I enjoy working and I’m not ready to retire. There are some things here I want to finish and see done correctly.”

Scully credited the School Committee for allowing him to make changes to improve the district over the last few years.

“The School Committee has been fair and reasonable to me,” he said. “They have made it easy to get things done and are one of the reasons I want to stay on. I think I have their trust and support. That’s going to help us continue to make improvements going forward.”

Scully came out of retirement in 2010 to temporarily head the school district while the School Committee searched for a permanent leader. He was given the permanent job after six months.

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