UPDATE: Huntsville School Board votes to extend superintendent’s contract through 2017


Dr. Casey Wardynski (WHNT News 19 file)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Huntsville School Board members voted to  extend Superintendent Casey Wardynski's contract through the summer of 2017 and make it an "evergreen" contract that will renew automatically each year.

The vote came Thursday evening at a standing room only board work session meeting.

Outside the board room, protesters, both against and in support of the superintendent, gathered.

About 50 people who are calling for the board to fire the superintendent held signs and talked to members of the media.  Across the lawn, a smaller group also had signs showing their support of Dr. Wardynski.

Board president David Blair said he approached Wardynski about extending his contract because of all that the district currently has going on, including the district's desegregation court battles and the building of new schools across the city.

"We wanted to be able to have some continuity," Blair said.

The new contract  will extend Wardynski's time as superintendent a year longer than his current, or until the summer of 2017. There is no increase in salary or incentive pay in the proposed contract, Blair said. But the superintendent would be able to change unused vacation time into cash, a benefit most employees in the district are not currently awarded.

Board member Topper Birney held his stance Thursday evening that he, Blair and Jennie Robinson will be off the board at the beginning of November and said he'd prefer to leave the decision to change Wardynski's contract to the incoming members, not "three lame ducks."

"The three lame ducks have a lot of history and understanding," Blair said, adding that the new board members will have a "steep learning curve" when they take office.

The board meeting was the last one for board members Topper Birney, David Blair and Jennie Robinson. Their replacements, Walker McGinnis, Beth Wilder and Elisa Ferrell, take office Nov. 3.

(Our news partners at AL.com/The Huntsville Times contributed information to this report) 

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