Business community reacts to Dilworth's new job

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - If Montgomery County School Superintendent John Dilworth had stayed, a pot of money awaited him; $150,000 had he completed a 3-year contract extension once his current contract expired in 2010.

"We formed a partnership with the chamber education foundation and others in the community. We would have made the money available as an incentive with the hope he would finish out the contract and stay another 3 years," said Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Vice President Dr. Cameron Martindale.

But it was not meant to be. Dilworth said 'no' to Montgomery and 'yes' to the East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, school district. Any hard feelings? Not at all.

"We're sorry to see him go. He was a wonderful superintendent, but he has family down there," said Martindale.

The business community credits Dilworth for engaging the community, listening to others and bringing people together.

"I'm disappointed he's leaving," said Montgomery County Commissioner Elton Dean.

On the government side of this relationship, county commissioner Elton Dean vehemently disagreed with Mr. Dilworth's decision to close Pintlala Elementary school because of budget issues, but Dean respected him. The school board eventually overturned that decision with the understanding government leaders could come up with the funds to keep the school open, according to Dean.

"He's the man in charge and he had to rely on the figures his staff gave him. I will remember him for walking tall and keeping the children first," said Commissioner Dean.

John Dilworth's salary as Montgomery County school superintendent is a little more than $150,000 a year. He'll earn more in East Baton Rouge Parish. His predecessor made around $230,000 a year and that included a car allowance and insurance. John Dilworth is going home to take over Louisiana's largest school district.

Dilworth was hired in March 2007. The average tenure for public school superintendents is around 26 months nationwide.