Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Schools chief plans to do encore

Sears to 'retire,' then work for less

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        LEBANON — Superintendent James W. “Bill” Sears will lead the Lebanon City Schools another five years at a lower salary after his “retirement” from public education next July 31.

        The Lebanon Board of Education voted Monday to accept Mr. Sears' resignation, and then gave him a five-year contract that begins Aug. 1, 2002.

        “We feel like we have one of the best superintendents in the state,” said the Rev. Orville Robinson, president of the Lebanon Board of Education and senior pastor at Cornerstone Church of God. “We felt if he retired, people would start looking at Bill Sears, and we wanted to keep him.”

        Under Ohio law, once someone retires from public education, he must wait 60 days before beginning a job in another Ohio school district, or else must forfeit his retirement pay.

        Mr. Sears said he would not collect the first two months of retirement pay and will accept a salary cut of at least 10 percent when his new contract begins.

        Mr. Sears earns $105,222 annually.

        “We haven't worked out the details yet, but I will come back at a lesser salary,” Mr. Sears said. “I certainly am taking advantage of the opportunity (the state retirement system) offers me, but I'm not ready to quit working yet.”

        Mr. Sears said he wants to stay in Lebanon and work through construction of the new high school and elementary and continue to improve the district's curriculum.

        Rehiring him will provide continuity as the district works through a facilities plan, and bringing in a new superintendent would be more costly than rehiring Mr. Sears at lower pay, the Rev. Mr. Robinson said.


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