This meeting attendance list on this article has been corrected.
WINCHESTER — David Sovine, Frederick County Public Schools superintendent for the past decade, has received a four-year contract extension until 2025.
The School Board on Tuesday night agreed to terminate his existing contract one year early and immediately renewed it for another four years.
The extension, which becomes effective July 1, was approved by a 6-1 vote with Brandon Monk the lone dissenter. Monk explained he supports Sovine’s leadership but disagrees with the contract’s terms. Sovine will earn $246,318, which is up from a 2018 base salary of $193,798.
Monk emailed The Star that his vote “was simply due to particular financial provisions in the contract which I felt shouldn’t be approved without further discussion and more transparency for the taxpayers.” His primary concerns are contractual stipulations allowing for up to $35,000 in additional compensation.
“After a year in which many in our community lost their jobs, were forced to close their businesses, or faced difficult financial cutbacks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I felt that the raise included was sufficient,” Monk emailed.
In granting the extension, Sovine’s current contract, which runs though June 2022, will be terminated at the end of the month. This comes as three School Board seats are up for grabs in the November election with no incumbents seeking re-election.
Sovine is the longest-serving FCPS superintendent since Melton F. Wright’s 14-year tenure from 1968 to 1982. According to the School Superintendents Association, superintendents’ average tenure in America is five to six years.
School Board Vice Chairwoman Shontyá Washington made a motion for the renewal, which she noted was reviewed by legal counsel and board members during a closed session.
“Congratulations Dr. Sovine for his exemplary service, commitment and continued service to the division and to our students, staff and our entire school community in Frederick County,” Washington said.
Sovine thanked the School Board, saying he looks forward “to serving this great community for four more years.”
Accomplishments during Sovine’s tenure include providing a Chromebook for every K-12 student, implementing full-day kindergarten division-wide, establishing the Bright Futures-Frederick/Winchester nonprofit and having all the division’s schools accredited for the first time in over a decade.
He also developed an equity initiative — which has been criticized by some county supervisors — to ensure fairer outcomes, treatments and opportunities for students “by recognizing, respecting and attending to the diverse strengths and challenges of the students they serve,” as defined by the division.
Two new schools (Frederick County Middle and Jordan Springs Elementary) and a new transportation center have opened during his tenure, with a new Robert E. Aylor Middle School slated to open this fall. Major renovations to James Wood Middle School and Indian Hollow Elementary School are moving forward. And land for the division’s proposed fourth high school has been purchased under Sovine’s leadership.
Before joining the school system, Sovine was Spotsylvania County Public Schools’ executive director of K-12 curriculum and instruction and secondary education. He has also been a teacher and principal.
The meeting was held in-person at the division’s 1415 Amherst St. administration building. Attending were Superintendent David Sovine, School Board Chairman Jay Foreman, Vice Chairwoman Shontyá Washington and members Brian Hester, Bradley Comstock, Michael Lake, Brandon Monk and Frank Wright.