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Longview ISD interim superintendent says scrutiny over rehiring appropriate

By Christina Lane
Feb. 7, 2012 at 11 p.m.


Interim Superintendent James Wilcox said Tuesday that the questions regarding his retirement and subsequent return to Longview ISD have been appropriate.

Wilcox returned to the school district Tuesday after being hired by the board of trustees Monday night to serve as interim superintendent. Wilcox will maintain the job duties of a superintendent in addition to helping the board select its new chief. Wilcox said there is no timeline for selecting a superintendent.

His contract with the district calls for him to earn an annual salary of $103,750 - or $8,645.93 per month from Longview ISD. The district also will pay him a $250 monthly travel stipend and pay $2,000 monthly into his annuity. Additionally, Wilcox is eligible to receive retirement benefits from the Teacher Retirement System.

"I think all of the questions were appropriate," Wilcox said of questions raised about his retire/rehire. "The workings of the Teacher Retirement System - let alone superintendent contracts - are something that most people don't have intimate knowledge of how they work and how they're set up. We work and serve the public, and they deserve to have their questions answered. That's what we're here to do."

Wilcox is the 18th Longview ISD employee to be hired out of retirement. As a permanent superintendent, Wilcox earned $207,500 annually and received $550 per month for travel expenses. The district paid 6 percent, or about $1,037 a month, into the Teacher Retirement System on his behalf and contributed $1,666.67 monthly to his annuity.

It will be his job to screen candidates being considered as a permanent superintendent and select a group of finalists to present to the board of trustees. The school board will make the decision on the district's next superintendent, he said.

In the meantime, Wilcox said he was pleased to serve the district. On his first day back on duty, he met with some of the district's staff and attended a Longview Economic Development Corp. meeting.

"I think we've made some great accomplishments here in the district," Wilcox said.

"We have some wonderful programs going, a fantastic staff assembled, a great teaching core and our students have just responded to everything we've asked them to do. To be able to come back and work just a little while longer in extending that student achievement, I felt honored and blessed that the board of trustees contacted me and asked me to come back and serve as their interim."

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