SAD 51, school chief to negotiate raise, contract extension

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CUMBERLAND — The School Administrative District 51 Board of Directors Monday agreed to a one-year contract extension and a pay raise for Superintendent Robert Hasson.

The decisions came after the board in June tabled a decision on whether to authorize negotiation of a contract extension with Hasson. Two years remained at the time in Hasson’s contract, which is now being extended through June 2016.

On Monday, the board voted 6-2, with Jim Moulton and Pete Wilson opposed, to authorize School Board Chairwoman Karen Campbell to negotiate a contract extension with Hasson. The panel also voted 6-2, with Moulton and Bob Vail opposed, to negotiate a salary increase with Hasson.

Campbell said Tuesday that the amount of Hasson’s raise remains the subject of negotiations.

Moulton is among those who criticized purchase of a school security system for nearly $276,000 early this year that was significantly more expensive than the $50,000 to $60,000 Hasson originally proposed.

“I think there was a mistake made with the security system and the way it was handled, and I think it’s just wrong at this time to reward a person with an extension to his contract,” and the raise, Moulton said. “… I just think the ball was dropped, and the buck stops with him.”

Hasson has said the installation was moving quickly, and has admitted he should have kept the School Board informed about the increasing expense.

Wilson said he said he favors employment at will, rather than a contract, with a provision for severance pay.

In his support of Hasson’s raise, Wilson said, “I feel that the performance evaluation given to him for the last year and frankly for the last three years … indicate that a raise is appropriate.”

In looking at events of the past year, Vail said, “I think there were some missteps, but it didn’t rise to the level of what I would call a fireable offense. On the other hand, I wouldn’t reward him with more money, either.”

Vail, who has served 14 years on the School Board, added that he thinks Hasson has “done a good job over the years.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.