SCS Board And Hopson Negotiate Superintendent Contract

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(Memphis) The Shelby County School board is considering how much money to give Dorsey Hopson, now that he’s been appointed superintendent.

The board selected him unanimously Tuesday night despite the fact that Hopson is an attorney and has never been an educator.

Superintendent Hopson told me he thinks a salary in a district similar to Shelby County’s size is fair.

The superintendent of the comparable Charlotte Mecklenberg district in North Carolina makes $288,000 a year, but board members say that may be a tough sell.

Hopson is a seasoned attorney, but he’s never been an educator.

“Having worked at numerous school districts I’m very familiar with all of the issues, and I think I’ve demonstrated a good leadership ability,” said Hopson.

The school board agreed,  voting unanimously to offer Hopson the job.

This comes after taxpayers spent more than $24,000 on that search, which came up with no candidates.

Board Member David Reaves wrote in his blog that they really didn’t have much choice.

Even though they were offering $270,000 a year for the job, Reaves claims there were virtually no educators interested in running the district because of all the uncertainty.

“I know that I’ve had board members and people in the community concerned about salaries so I’m not opposed to adjusting the salary down,” said Reaves.

Board Member Kevin Woods says Hopson is a great choice, and his lack of education background isn’t an issue.

“Someone who is passionate about education, they want homegrown talent, and when we looked at the ratings we didn’t see a lot of people saying you had to be an educator,” said Woods.

The last superintendent of Shelby County Schools, John Atkin, made nearly $200,000 a year.

MCS Superintendent Kriner Cash topped out at nearly $275,000 a year.

Woods isn’t so sure Hopson will see the full salary.

“It would be great if Superintendent Hopson felt some of the pain our teachers and other employees have felt. So I would like to see him take a small haircut,” said Woods.

Woods says he expects to have Hopson’s contract ready to consider at the next school board meeting, which is next month.