By Dedra Cordle
The South-Western City Schools District will retain Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise through the 2026 school year under a five-year contract extension.
At the Jan. 6 meeting, the board of education unanimously approved the extension, more than a year before his contract was set to expire.
Robert Ragland Sr., the board’s newly elected president, said the board chose to renew his contract due to his exemplary performance.
“For the past years, he has been doing an excellent job as superintendent,” he said.
“Dr. Wise has a remarkable vision for the district and our graduation rates have increased each year (under his leadership),” he added, referring to their current graduation rate of 87.9 percent.
Ragland said that on a personal note, he has known Wise since he was an assistant superintendent in the early 2000s and has always been impressed with his work ethic and demeanor.
“He always makes himself available for community services and his doors and ears are always open when issues arise.”
Per the terms of the contract extension, Wise will receive a 2.4 percent increase in his base pay annually starting Aug. 1, 2021. His current salary is $206,566.
The board has also agreed to provide 35 vacation days, a change from 30 days, and has determined he will be employed for 215 work days per year, a change from 220 under the terms of his last contract. The board will also continue to provide an annual contribution to a tax-sheltered annuity of his choosing.
Wise began his career at the district in 2002 when he served as the assistant superintendent of curriculum and then as the deputy superintendent. In 2007, he was named the superintendent upon the resignation of Kirk Hamilton.
Under his term as superintendent, the district has established an all-day kindergarten program, the implementation of an Accelerated Learning Center, and two major build projects.
In 2012, voters approved a bond issue that allowed the district to enter into a partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to construct 13 new elementary buildings, renovate two others, and build a new Franklin Heights High School. Additional monies of the $206 million project allowed the district to make roofing or asphalt improvements at various buildings when the need arose.
Currently, the district is set to begin the groundbreaking later this summer in a $193 million build project that will see the replacement of the four oldest middle schools, the renovation and addition at Jackson Middle, and further repairs to East Franklin Elementary School. Voters approved that project, also with the OFCC, in November 2018.
Wise said that while he looks forward to the upcoming build project that will provide “21st century learning opportunities,” he is more excited to continue working at the district.
“We have the most phenomenal quality of staff in this district,” he said. “We are truly blessed to have such a talented staff that cares about children and that choose to be here day after day to make a difference in their lives.”
Also at the meeting, the board approved a bid to replace the roof at the South-Western Preschool Center, located at 4324 Haughn Road in Grove City. The board awarded the contract to JB Roofing Company/A Tecta America Company, for $170,850.