Moss’ South Carolina contract now official

Mar. 21, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

Jeff Moss is officially under contract with the Beaufort County School District in South Carolina.

Moss, who has been superintendent of Lee County Schools since January 2009, was previously approved as the new superintendent in Hilton Head and the surrounding area earlier this month in a 9-2 school board vote. And on Tuesday, the Beaufort school board voted unanimously to approve his five-year contract, with a base salary of $220,000 plus benefits and various other payments. Moss hasn’t signed it yet, although he said he intends to as soon as possible.

Moss said Wednesday he’s already working on his retirement papers and that he intends to file them for June 30, but that in the meantime, it’s time for the local school board to go ahead and start officially searching for his replacement.

“I’m very excited about the opportunities that lay before me,” he said.

In a budget meeting Monday, the Lee County Board of Education voted unanimously to collect bids from companies that would help the county conduct a national search for a new superintendent. At least four companies have already expressed interest, and the board plans to begin the process at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the district office in the Heins Education Building downtown.

The Hilton Head newspaper, the Island Packet, reported in Wednesday’s edition that Moss will be one of the highest-paid superintendents in South Carolina, making more than several superintendents in larger districts.

According to that paper, Beaufort County Board of Education Chairman Bill Evans said Tuesday night that Moss’s salary factors in his prior experience, the high cost of living in Beaufort County and the size and complexity of the district, which has more than 20,000 students and is one of the 10 largest in the state.

According to the Island Packet, Moss received a $196,000 base salary in Lee County, plus an $8,000 annual bonus, an $800 longevity payment and $18,000 in deferred compensation. Under his $220,000 contract in Beaufort County, he will also receive a number of considerations, including:

* An $850 monthly gasoline allowance.

* A personal data assistant, laptop and/or an iPad.

* A temporary housing allowance and moving expenses.

* An annuity plan beginning at 5 percent of his annual salary and growing to as much as 20 percent.

On Wednesday, Moss said he’s still working hard for local schools. Case in point: he was reached by cell phone in Raleigh, where he was meeting with N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory and various legislators about merit pay for North Carolina schools and teachers, as well as ways to establish a steady stream of funding for technology programs — which came to the forefront in Lee County Schools in the last few years, and which McCrory and legislative leaders recently endorsed.

Moss added that while those conversations left him feeling good about the future of North Carolina schools, he’s worried that McCrory told him he does intend to provide money for more teachers, but that he’ll cut teaching assistants to free up the funds.