Joseph A. Hairston, Baltimore County's pick to be the next schools superintendent, will likely collect two salaries -- worth at least $260,000 -- during his first year on the job in Towson.
Hairston, expected to start his new job in Baltimore County July 1, will receive about $190,000 from his former employer, the Clayton County (Ga.) Board of Education, during the next 18 months, Mark Armstrong, president of the Clayton County school board said yesterday.
That would be in addition to the salary he would earn as head of the Baltimore County schools if his appointment is confirmed by the Board of Education on March 14.
Hairston's Baltimore County salary and benefits package has not been made public, but he would likely earn more than retiring Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione, who receives $137,376.
"You can't expect someone else to come in for what Tony is getting when everyone else around him is getting a lot more," said school board President Donald L. Arnold. "It wouldn't make sense."
Nationwide, superintendent salaries have risen recently, due in part to a shrinking pool of qualified candidates. Superintendents have been hired in Montgomery and Howard counties for $237,000 and $180,000, respectively.
Hairston, whose annual salary in Clayton County was about $126,000, could not be reached yesterday. He is attending a conference of superintendents in San Francisco.
Hairston, a teacher and administrator for 27 years in Prince George's County before he left for Georgia in 1995, will be paid $190,000 for consulting work during the next 18 months, Armstrong said. Clayton County school officials will need Hairston's expertise to continue a popular classroom computer program, said Armstrong, who added that Hairston's responsibilities in Georgia would not affect his job in Baltimore County.
"He will be talking to us, but we don't expect him to come back and forth," Armstrong said. "We're always as close as the phone."
Baltimore County school board members are adamant that Hairston spend all his time working for them.
"Dr. Hairston's contract with us says that he will give his all to Baltimore County," said Arnold, who described Hairston's financial arrangement with Clayton County as more of a contract buyout than a job agreement.
Hairston left his job in Clayton County 18 months before the end of his contract -- a situation not uncommon among school superintendents, some of whom must work with board members who have personal agendas.
More often than not, superintendents forced out by school boards receive lucrative payoffs, said Jay Goldman, editor of the School Administrator Magazine, published by the American Association of School Administrators.
Said Goldman, "If it was the Clayton County Board of Education's decision to make him leave, and clearly it was, then they must make good on their obligation."