BIRMINGHAM — The tenure of Dr. Stephen Nowlin as superintendent of Jefferson County Schools came to an end Tuesday afternoon, as the system's board of education voted unanimously to move him to a consultant's role for the next 14 months.
The move came in a special meeting, which came after The North Jefferson News first reported on April 25 that Nowlin had been asked to step down by the board.
The board voted to amend Nowlin's employment contract, which originally was to run through June 2016. He will become what the amended contract calls an “administrative officer”; in that position, Nowlin will serve as a consultant to his successor, according to Board President Jennifer Parsons. The definition of his new position is somewhat vague, but Parsons said that he won't just be collecting a paycheck.
“I don't think he'll be sitting idly by. For someone with his expertise, there's always something you can do,” she said.
The new contract stipulates that Nowlin will not work out of the central office.
Nowlin will be paid his original monthly salary of $18,307.60. After the 14-month period expires, he will be paid a lump-sum buyout of $219,691.17 for the remaining portion of his original contract, an amount equal to what his salary would have been for that period. He will also be paid $24,715.26 for unused vacation days through that period.
The system will also pay his retirement funding and his health insurance costs.
Nowlin did not attend Tuesday's meeting, and could not be reached for comment.
If he should take another position as a superintendent in another public school system in Alabama, the board will pay the difference between Nowlin's new salary and that he was paid by JefCoEd, if his new salary is lower.
In a press conference after the brief meeting, Parsons again stated – as she had in a written statement after news broke of Nowlin's ouster – that the superintendent was not being removed because of misconduct or mismanagement, but because of “philosophical differences.”