Johnson City school officials recommend extending Barnett's contract

Brandon Paykamian • Aug 13, 2019 at 7:40 PM

The Johnson City Board of Education Superintendent’s Compensation Committee met Tuesday to recommend extending Superintendent Steve Barnett’s contract another year. 

According to Tennessee law, superintendents are only allowed to have a four-year contract, but the committee recommended yet another one-year extension for Barnett’s contract, putting its end date at June 30, 2023. 

As soon as Barnett took the helm in 2017, the board began working on a reconfiguration plan for Indian Trail Intermediate School and Liberty Bell Middle School to turn both schools into middle schools for grades 5-8. Under Barnett’s leadership, the board was also named State Board of the Year in 2018. 

“Steve’s certainly done a fantastic job,” Chairman Tim Belisle said.

Barnett also received a 1% salary raise given to other Johnson City Schools staff, bringing his annual salary to $144,026. 

In June, board members unsuccessfully requested additional funds from the city to supplement some of the $1,146,367 needed to pay for an earlier 2% salary increase plan for the 2019-20 school year.

Due to relatively flat sales taxes and property taxes, Johnson City commissioners were unable to provide the funds needed — putting the district in what Belisle called a “tight budget year.” 

Belisle said he wished he could offer more to Barnett, so officials recommended giving him two extra vacation days as “a gesture of appreciation.” Barnett would get 22 total vacation days and be able to carry 20 over to the next year. 

“He’s done such a great job and things are going so well, I’d hate not to do a little bit of something to recognize that,” Belisle said. 

Officials will further discuss Barnett’s contract extension at the next full Board of Education meeting set for Aug. 26.