New Broward superintendent’s salary is lowered by $10,000, but bonuses are possible

Peter Licata is now the superintendent of Broward Schools, with less money and job protection than he had negotiated.

He’ll also have to move from Boynton Beach to Broward County within a year, under a provision added to his contract during a three-hour meeting Tuesday morning. Licata, who was hired on June 15, is leaving his job as a longtime administrator for Palm Beach County schools.

“Broward County is a special place. It’s just going to be phenomenal in the next three years, maybe four or five,” Licata said.

He replaces Earlean Smiley, who has spent the past five months as interim superintendent after the School Board parted ways with her predecessor, Vickie Cartwright.

Licata’s starting base salary will be $350,000, which is $10,000 less than he negotiated with School Board Vice Chairwoman Debbi Hixon last month.

But he has an opportunity to get an additional $20,000 based on two performance metrics: the school district becoming A-rated and meeting certain goals of completing projects in the troubled $800 million bond-funded school renovation program.

The nine-member School Board also opposed a request that a supermajority of six would be needed to fire him without cause. The board voted 5-4 to make it a simple majority, the same as past superintendents. Those supporting it were Chairwoman Lori Alhadeff, as well as board members Torey Alston, Brenda Fam, Daniel Foganholi and Allen Zeman.

“I’ve never been in favor of that. It gives away the power of the board,” Alhadeff said.

Licata asked the board to reconsider that before he agreed to the contract.

“If we’re to make this a world-class district, the stability of the superintendent is extremely important,” Licata said. “If we’re to recruit and keep great talent, the stability of the superintendent is extremely important.”

After the board member wouldn’t budge, he agreed to the simple majority but encouraged the board to reconsider it after a year.

Tuesday’s meeting was a do-over meeting. His contract was originally supposed to be approved June 29, but only three of nine board members attended in person, two fewer than needed for a quorum. So the meeting was rescheduled.

“I’m excited. I’ve been an expectant father for the past three weeks waiting to get to this job,” Licata said.

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