Mark Bessen will be the superintendent in the Granville School District at least through the end of the 2014 school year after the board of education approved a contract extension May 23.
In a contract amendment approved unanimously by the board 7-0, with two members absent, the move extended Bessen’s employment with the district beyond his current contract which began in September of 2009 and now runs through June of 2014.
“I’m glad that the board was confident enough in me to extend me another year I’m glad to be go forward in Granville working to make it a better place. It’s a good place now but our goal is to go from good to great and I think we’re making those strides,” Bessen said. The extension is a sign the board is happy with the superintendent’s performance and is typically accompanied by a raise, which Bessen declined early in the year due to the expected difficult budget, officials said.
“We’re really thankful for everyone who took a (pay) freeze, we really appreciate that and Mark volunteered to do that, we didn’t ask him to. He’s a good man,” School board President Kathy Nelson said.
“We really like Mark. He’s a good, honest, hard-working man and we appreciate what he brings to the district,” Nelson said.
The amendment maintains Bessen’s initial contract with regard to pay and benefits. Bessen’s salary remains at $134,000.
Bessen and business manager Cathy Somich did not ask or budget for raises as a part of the budget process for the recently passed 2011-2012 budget.
The superintendent said he never considered taking a raise this year.
“We were asking people to make sacrifices all over and I felt that I had to take that zero first,” he said. “Cathy quickly joined me with that and fortunately the teachers they took a zero and the great support of the community for the budget they took that 1.5 percent tax increase – it was a real community effort to get that budget done,” Bessen said.
Asked when he would consider seeking a raise, Bessen said given the state of the economy, he could not guess.
“I won’t know that (economy) until I see it and it would be a waste of my mental energy to even think about it that’s not something I’m concerned with right now,” he said.
“If things are going great and the economy’s booming, the stock market is doing well and people here in Granville are working then maybe it will be time to say ‘hey what about me?’ but my biggest thought right now is how we’re going to maintain the programs we have going into next year,” Bessen said.