LOWELL -- Superintendent of Schools Jean Franco got the contract extension she was seeking Wednesday night, but it is only for one year after the School Committee shortened the terms in executive session.
Franco's contract, which was due to expire on Monday, will now run through June 30, 2015, after the committee voted 6-1, with Mayor Rodney Elliott opposed, to give her a one-year extension.
Her original contract extension, which appeared on the committee agenda last week, was for two years, but committee member Connie Martin abruptly made a motion to discuss her contract in executive session. That discussion took place in a special meeting on Wednesday which saw the committee first meet by itself for 30 minutes before calling Franco into the room for a 30-minute discussion. The committee then met on its own for 15 minutes before bringing Franco back into the room for 15 minutes.
In total, the committee met for about an hour and 45 minutes in executive session in the mayor's reception room before returning to the City Council chambers for its regular meeting.
The terms are similar to the previously agreed-to contract. Franco will be paid an annual salary of no less than $175,992.50 and would be eligible for a 1 percent cost-of-living increase.
Franco will also be eligible for a merit raise based on the School Committee's evaluation of her. If she achieves a rating of "proficient," Franco will receive a 2 percent pay increase. Franco will receive a 3 percent pay increase if she receives a performance rating of "exemplary."
Franco was selected as superintendent in April 2011 to replace the outgoing Chris Scott. Her tenure as superintendent began in July 2011.
Her starting salary as superintendent was $170,000 and her initial deal called for her to be eligible for a percentage increase in pay in the third year of the contract if the United Teachers of Lowell received an increase during the 2013-14 academic year.
Franco came to Lowell in 1996 as a Spanish bilingual facilitator, a role she continued in until being named assistant superintendent for Student Support Services in 2002.
For more on this story, read Thursday's Sun or return to lowellsun.com.