Clayton OK's superintendent contract at $250,000 a year

The Clayton County school board approved a three-year contract for a new superintendent Tuesday night.

The board voted 7-2 to approve a $250,000 annual contract for Edmond Heatley, school officials said. The proposed three-year contract also includes an $800 monthly car allowance.

Last week, the board voted 5 to 4 to hire Heatley, superintendent at the Chino Valley (Calif.) Unified School District. The board was divided after several members rallied to hire interim superintendent Valya Lee.

Heatley's first official day is July 1, but he is scheduled to begin working part-time this week.

Heatley assumes control of the troubled school district weeks after it regained accreditation. On May 1, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the district on probation and ordered it to make continued improvements.

Heatley, a retired Marine master sergeant, replaces controversial superintendent John Thompson, who was fired in April. Residents criticized Thompson's contract, which was valued at about $400,000. The contract included a $285,000 annual salary, $2,000 monthly housing stipend and 107 paid days off.

Heatley, 46, pledged to spend at least several years in Clayton - enough time to recruit back the 3,500 students who fled because of the loss of accreditation, he said. He also has promised to send his own children to Clayton schools.

The board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in Jonesboro.