New Berkeley schools superintendent will cost taxpayers $166K, maybe more

Documents show the Berkeley County School District could spend nearly as much on finding a replacement for former superintendent Brenda Blackburn as it would've on her annual salary.

Finding a new schools superintendent in Berkeley County is going to cost taxpayers at least $166 thousand dollars, and possibly as much as $191 thousand.

That means the Berkeley County School District could end up paying between 79 and 90 percent of former superintendent Brenda Blackburn's annual salary just to find replacement candidates.

The information comes from documents released by the Berkeley County School District to ABC News 4 Friday as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

Documents provided to ABC News 4 include:

  • Blackburn's original contract with the school district;
  • Blackburn's separation agreement with the district following her resignation, and;
  • An agreement with Raleigh, North Carolina-based consulting firm to find Blackburn's replacement candidates.

Blackburn resigned as superintendent in March 2017 amid an ongoing FBI investigation of financial fraud by former BCSD chief financial officer Brantley Thomas, who was fired in February.

Blackburn was hired in 2015 on a three-year contract with an annual base salary of $210 thousand, according to the documents. Blackburn was payed $76,800 as part of her severance agreement with the district.

Meanwhile. the documents show the school district is paying consulting firm Harding Parker and Associates nearly $90 thousand to find a replacement for Blackurn by May 31.

Of those fees, $25 thousand are for the actual search, and $64,500 are for "consulting fees," according to the agreement.

That agreement also stipulates the district could pay Harding Parker another $25 thousand to find replacement candidates by June 30, if the search requires another month.

All told, the school district could pay the firm between $89,500 and $114,500. The agreement calls for one of the firm's consultants to work in the district four days a week, with the head of the firm, Dr. Tony Parker, in the district at least two days a week.

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