Spotsylvania County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Baker signed a new, four-year contract this month that increases his annual compensation by $18,000.

The School Board voted 5–2 to approve the contract at a special meeting Aug. 6, with members Lisa Phelps and Kirk Twigg voting no.

The contract, which expires July 2022, increases Baker’s base salary by $10,000, from $195,000 to $205,000. Baker will also receive $20,000 per year in deferred compensation, an $8,000 increase from his previous deal. The new contract maintains his yearly car allowance of $10,000.

The School Board renegotiated Baker’s previous contract, which would have expired in two years, in the wake of Stafford County’s hiring of a new superintendent. Incoming Stafford Superintendent Scott Kizner, who starts next month, will collect an annual base salary of $226,000, or $21,000 more than Baker.

Fredericksburg City Public Schools Superintendent David Melton, the region’s highest-paid superintendent, makes $239,617 per year in base pay.

The School Board has revised Baker’s contract every two years since he became superintendent in 2012.

“The message we want to communicate to our superintendent is that we do want him to continue—the answer is emphatically yes,” School Board member James Meyer said.

Twigg said he voted no “in the name of better business practices,” but did not elaborate.

Phelps questioned the School Board’s practice of renewing Baker’s contract two years before it is set to expire.

“I think that we should let a contract ride out,” she said. “Contract negotiations could take place next year. I don’t know what the rush is to changing it to increased compensation … so I won’t be supporting it.”

Meyer said the School Board has renewed Baker’s contract every two years in order to “acquire the commitment … for four more years of service, which establishes continuity and leadership.”

But extending a contract does not guarantee that a superintendent will stay.

Former Stafford Superintendent Bruce Benson, for instance, resigned just a year after he renegotiated a longer contract with the School Board that expired June 30, 2021. Benson left for a superintendent job with North Carolina’s Alamance–Burlington School System.

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Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402 jbranscome@freelancestar.com

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