Hathorn rehired at lower pay

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Dr. Connie Hathorn will continue his career as superintendent of Youngstown City Schools after the Board of Education on Tuesday approved a retire, rehire scenario that will keep Hathorn in charge until at least summer 2017.

“I appreciate the board’s support and believing in my leadership,” Hathorn said.

The vote was 5 to 2, with board members Andrea Mahone and Brenda Kimble casting the dissenting votes. It’s a four-year contract starting July 2 at an annual salary of $119,250, which is a 10 percent cut from his previous contract, where Hathorn made $132,000 a year.  He’ll soon start to collect his retirement from the state as well.

The contract runs through July  31, 2017. Hathorn said previously he wanted to retire because changes to the state retirement system would result in him receiving less money from his pension if he waited.

“Some school districts are actually giving superintendents an increase to stay, and I feel that based on our finances we have, I thought it was the right thing to do to give 10 percent back,” Hathorn said.

“This is a win-win situation for us and our students, and the whole community. I think we’re going in the right direction. I think the test scores are going to show that,” said Youngstown Board of Education President Richard Atkinson.

But those test scores are still to come, which is why Mahone and Kimble voted “no” on renewing Hathorn’s contract.

“I believe that our superintendent should be based upon what our report card is, and the report card is not out yet, and so I disagree with the amount of money we’re also paying him as well,” Mahone said.

Hathorn said the movement and restructuring of students and buildings in his revitalization plan is over, and Youngstown City Schools Treasurer James Reinhard said the school system should be financially solvent through next year.

But millions of dollars continue to leave the district with students opting for charter schools or open enrollment.

“One of our top financial  priorities, if not the top, is just to get more students back in the classrooms in Youngstown City Schools,” Reinhard said.

“It’s nice to have students come back, and I want them back, but my biggest concern is educating the ones I have,” Hathorn said.

State report cards for this past school year should come out in August.

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