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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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School board OKs contract for superintendent
Jamison: Church ‘more concerned about division than salary’
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Dr. Mark Church

Friday, January 4, 2013

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

The Franklin County School Board approved a contract for new Superintendent Mark Church Wednesday night.

The contract, which runs from Jan. 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016, includes an annual salary of $118,000, according to Lee Cheatham, director of business and finance for the school division.

"We are incredibly pleased to get such a well-qualified superintendent who is more concerned about the school division than his salary," said School Board Chairman Ed Jamison. "His salary is significantly less than that of other superintendents in this area."

The salaries of school superintendents in Bedford, Roanoke and Henry counties are in the $150,000 to $160,000 range, Jamison said.

Church's contract also includes a tax-sheltered annuity (retirement) for $11,603 annually, Cheatham said, as well as health insurance, vacation and sick leave.

However, Church's contract does not include an automobile allowance, Cheatham said.

The former school superintendent was provided with an $800 per month ($9,600 a year) automobile allowance as part of his contract extension in 2010. Prior to that time, the superintendent was provided a school vehicle for professional and personal use, which led many in the community to question his "personal" use of school vehicles.

"It was my decision not to use a school vehicle to drive to work," Church said.

Church's contract calls for the use of a school vehicle for trips over 150 miles and for the transport of others (staff or students) on school business for liability purposes.

Church also declined the use of a school credit card.

"I will use the same reimbursement procedure as everyone else," he said. "It (the procedure) allows for better accountability."

Last month, the school board voted unanimously to offer the permanent superintendent's position to Church, who had served on an interim basis since July.

Church was chosen from 10 applicants for the superintendent's position, including candidates from Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and other areas of Virginia, according to Jamison.

Church, a 1982 graduate of FCHS, worked as an administrator at Franklin County High School and career and technical director for 12 years before his appointment as interim superintendent.

Church earned his bachelor's degree at James Madison University, a master's degree in education (Educational Leadership) from Lynchburg College, and eventually obtained three graduate degrees from Virginia Tech (Ph.D. and Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and M.S.Ed. in Vocational and Technical Education).

Church was state director of the SkillsUSA program before moving back to Franklin County and into the position of director of career and technical education and building administrator at the high school. 

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