Contract deadline looms for new Columbus superintendent

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio’s largest school district has yet to reach a contract agreement with its new superintendent after three weeks of talks.

Columbus City Schools has set today as a deadline for negotiations with Talisa Dixon, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Dixon was selected to lead the district and its more than 50,000 students after a unanimous school board vote Sept. 20. Talks started four days later.

Columbus Board of Education President Gary Baker hasn’t offered any answers.

“I do know exactly what’s happening, but I have no comment,” said Baker.

He declined to say whether the board could approve a deal at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Dixon is beginning her fifth year as superintendent for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Schools in suburban Cleveland.

“The contract is still being negotiated, and that includes the start date,” Cleveland Heights-University Heights Schools spokesman Scott Wortman said of the Columbus contract talks. The aim is to finalize the contract “sometime in October,” Wortman added.

Dixon has said she intended to remain with her current employer through the end of the current school year. Officials with Columbus City Schools have said they hope Dixon will change her mind and agree to start in the central Ohio district in January.

Baker has said the start date is a part of the negotiations.

A timeline created by the district’s search firm, BWP, has Dixon scheduled to attend multiple community events in November and beginning to transition in December. Dixon has said she planned to go on a 100-day listening tour of the district at the start of her tenure.

Dixon’s current contract with Cleveland Heights-University Heights Schools paid her a starting base salary of $159,400. The 49-year-old receives a $1,000 annual longevity bonus and $5,575 per year for holding a Ph.D.