Huntsville City Schools Board votes on contract offer for new superintendent

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.-The Huntsville City Schools Board of Education has voted on a contract offer for Matthew Akin as next superintendent.

The board voted three to two to offer Akin a three-year contract that would run through June 30, 2020.  Akin had requested a four-year contract.

The offer will include a base salary of $179,500 per year, as well as $800 month for a vehicle allowance. The board also voted 5-0 (the first 5-0 vote this board has ever had) on Akin's health care package with the designation that he would pay his own portion of the premium. Akin had asked that the school system pay it.

The board will review relocation costs at a later time.

If Akin accepts his contract, the board will still need to vote to approve the contract. Akin could also choose to counter-offer, or turn it down completely.

Typically, contract negotiations are done between the candidate and attorneys. But board president Elisa Ferrell said the board wanted to be a part of the process.

"Three of the board members wanted to do the negotiations ourselves, and not have the attorneys do it behind closed doors," she said. "We have involved the community in every process throughout the superintendent selection, so we felt it was important to do it publicly."

"I'm ready to move on to the next step, I want to see what Dr. Akin has to say, and what his counter is going to be," Ferrell said. "We will probably have to have a special called board meeting in order to firm things up," she said. "I imagine [we will get a counter offer] pretty quick."

Board members were able to work together Thursday in ways they previously had not. Ferrell commented on the 5-0 votes: "I think it was one of the more friendly discussions we've had," she said. "We've always been told it's possible, and we found out tonight it is possible. So that's a good thing."

Akin most recently served as the superintendent at Piedmont City Schools in Piedmont, Alabama. Huntsville City Schools board members say he turned in his resignation to Piedmont on February 10th.