Surprise at Dilworth contract extension meeting

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery County School Board is making every possible effort to keep Superintendent John Dilworth in Montgomery and, apparently, they aren't alone.

On Monday the Montgomery business community put their two cents into the pot, and a lot more, as the Board put together a special work session to look at a possible extension of Dilworth's contract.

In his two years at the helm of Montgomery's public school system Dilworth has attempted to merge the relationship between the business community and the school district.

Now, the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, the Montgomery Education Foundation and businesses at large are pooling their money to offer Dilworth even more than he's currently making.

"We would like to create a fund of $150,000 to make that available to Mr. Dilworth at the end of his contract that would be his," said Keith Karst of Alabama Power. Karst is also the Chairman of the Educational Workforce Development Council at the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce.

The offer came as a welcoming surprise to school board members, who are working on their own plans to sweeten the incentives for Dilworth to stay. Preparations are underway for board members to vote on a performance compensation clause that is in the superintendent's current contract. That could bring a pay increase of up to five percent for Dilworth, who is already making more than $190,000 per year including allowances.

The board members at Monday's work session were not able to vote on the extension or other issues involving Dilworth's contract, however. The issues will be taken up at the next board meeting on March 10.

Dilworth is scheduled to interview for the position of Superintendent for the East Baton Rouge, Louisiana Parish school system on Wednesday. He is one of three finalists being considered for the job.

If he accepts the Montgomery contract extension, he'll be committed to the Montgomery Public School system until June 30, 2013.

However, Dilworth has said in previous interviews that being closer to family was his main concern in thinking of a possible move, not money.

WSFA 12 News will continue to follow this developing story in the days ahead.