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Article updated: 12/18/2012 7:03 PM

District 220 approves 5-year contract for superintendent

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The Barrington Unit District 220 board approved a new five-year contract Monday with Superintendent Tom Leonard and appointed a former colleague to temporarily fill a vacant seat on the panel.

Leonard, who has held the position since 2007, will continue serving until June 30, 2017, under the new agreement. The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2012.

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Board President Brian Battle said Leonard had indicated he would retire in 2014, when his previous contract was set to expire. But when the board members began talking about the process of finding a new superintendent, they decided to see if Leonard would be willing to stay past the end of his contact.

Battle said the board is pleased with Leonard's performance so far, and with changes to the common core curriculum, performance evaluation system and more, it would be good, strategically, to keep him in the position.

"We just thought with all of these changes going on in education, it would benefit our students and our teachers and all of our school community to have stability in that leadership position," he said.

The board is happy with Leonard's educational initiatives, presence in the community and recruitment of "excellent talent," Battled added.

Leonard will receive a 6 percent increase to his salary in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, bringing his annual pay to $260,777. His salary will be frozen for fiscal year 2015, Battle said, and in 2016 and 2017 raises will be based on the Consumer Price Index.

Also Monday, former board member Cara Richardson was appointed to fill a seat left vacant when Nick Sauer resigned to serve on the Lake County Board.

Richardson previously was appointed to the board in July 2006 to fill a vacated seat. She was elected in April 2007 and served a 4-year term. More than 20 people applied for the interim position, which Richardson will hold until May.

Battle said the board unanimously agreed to appoint Richardson because she has experience with the two primary tasks the board must address in the time she'll serve: teacher contract negotiations and the budget.

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