The only local firm interviewed to conduct Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ superintendent search this week would be the most costly option, according to documents released Thursday.
The board interviewed four consulting groups Tuesday and met in closed session afterward to authorize negotiations with their selected firm, which they have not named. The Observer requested the written pitches submitted by all firms; CMS posted those from the four finalists.
All proposals include a basic fee plus expenses, which would vary based on the number of candidates reviewed and the amount of travel involved.
Coleman Lew and Associates, a Charlotte executive search firm that does private and public work, said its fee for academic searches is 30 percent of the executive’s first year’s compensation.
Superintendent Ann Clark makes $262,000 a year, while Heath Morrison, the last superintendent hired in a national search, made $288,000. Thirty percent of Clark’s salary would be $78,600, while 30 percent of Morrison’s would be $86,400.
The N.C. School Boards Association offered the lowest fee at $16,750. Two large national firms that specialize in superintendent searches proposed similar fees: $32,000 for Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates and $34,500 for McPherson and Jacobson.
The cost of a search is a relatively small item in a district that has a $1.4 billion annual budget. Trent Merchant, a former board member and executive headhunter, advised the board not to base its choice primarily on costs, saying the board will be criticized no matter how much it spends.
Read the proposals from all finalists at www.cms.k12.nc.us/boe/superintendentsearch.