Cato-Meridian’s school superintendent plans to stick around for at least another five years.

Superintendent Noel Patterson of the Cato-Meridian Central School District had his contract extended to 2016 earlier this week. Monday’s board vote was unanimous.

“The board’s been pleased with the changes Noel’s putting in place,” said board president Mike Lees.

Lees said Patterson has added academic rigor to programs and has handled the budget well each year.

“He’s certainly helped us navigate the difficult fiscal issues we’ve faced so far and we look forward to him helping us do the same over the next few years.”

Lees said Patterson’s old three-year contract technically lasted until the end of this school year, so the new five-year contract is essentially an extension on the old contract that had not yet expired.

“We wanted to go for a four-year extension because we wanted to provide some stability,” Lees said.

The updated, five-year contract is retroactive to the 2011-12 school year. This year, Patterson is making $119,105. In 2012-13, he will make $121,500. The last three years of his salary were left open and raises will be contingent on his annual review, Patterson said.

There were no changes in Patterson’s health insurance benefits or annuity.

The board did grant Patterson a $150 travel allowance each month in the new contract. Although Patterson’s vacation time and time off remain the same, he may now accumulate a maximum of 10 vacation days to be carried over to the following year. In his old contract, he could only carry over five days.

Each year, Patterson can also trade in up to five unused vacation days at a rate of 1/240th of his annual salary per day he trades in, he said.

Also in the new contract is Patterson’s ability to trade in up to 35 unused vacation days for the rate of 1/240th of his salary at the time of his retirement. In the old contract, the number of days he could trade in at retirement was 28.

Another change in the new contract states that if Patterson gives written notice of his retirement a year in advance, the board will consider waiving the district residency requirement for that last year of Patterson’s employment.

Patterson became superintendent in the 2009-10 school year. He had a three-year contract when he started. Patterson said he has enjoyed working with the faculty and staff he sees on a daily basis. At Cato-Meridian, he said, everyone works together to improve education.

“I’m a long-term resident of the district,” he said. “My own children came through this school system. I have a good relationship with the board and the community, so it’s an enjoyable place to work.”

Staff writer Kelly Voll can be reached at 282-2239 or kelly.voll@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at CitizenVoll.

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