The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

August 11, 2013

Limestone schools CFO in talks for same position in Hartselle

Jonathan Craft, chief financial officer for the Limestone school system, is the top selection for the same position with Hartselle City Schools in Morgan County after a candidate from Fairfield declined Hartselle’s offer in early August.

Dr. Paul “Vic” Wilson, hired in July as the new Hartselle superintendent, said Friday the school board voted unanimously during a special meeting Thursday to offer the job to Craft, Limestone’s school finance chief for the past 11 years.

“I think he’s going to be a great (CFO). He’s very knowledgeable, and I’m hoping contract negotiations go well,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the board is negotiating the terms of a 3-year contract, and Craft, 35, said Friday he intends to accept the job pending contract negotiations.

“I’ve had 11 years, and it was good working here. I’m leaving with mixed emotions but it’s an exciting opportunity,” said Craft, who has enjoyed an easygoing camaraderie with his central office colleagues.

The Hartselle Board of Education offered its top finance post to Maria Glover of Fairfield City Schools in July, but she decided instead to take a counteroffer to remain with Fairfield. Wilson announced Glover’s decision during Thursday’s board meeting, and he said the board unanimously approved offering the position to Craft.

Filing the CFO vacancy

Hartselle narrowed its winding search for a CFO in early June when the school board chose Glover, Craft and Tina Parris of Talladega Schools as final candidates. The Alabama Association of School Boards, hired by the board for $5,000 as a search consultant, selected five different finalists in March. School officials said the June candidates differed from those in March because they wanted to broaden the CFO search.

The board in May discussed bringing on Hartselle resident John Higginbotham, but he accepted a raise to stay at Huntsville Hospital, where he works as a decision support specialist and analyst.

Hartselle is trying to fill the vacancy left by Sarita Tapscott, who made $77,040 as the system’s CFO. She was hired Jan. 22 for the same job with Alabaster City Schools at a $92,000 salary for three years.

Craft, whose current salary is $83,499, has served as Limestone CFO since 2002. The same position at Hartselle was listed with a salary range of $74,000 to $94,000 based on experience, according to Hartselle school officials.

The Hartselle school board approved in May a contract with Finatra in Athens for Lisa McMurray to serve as interim finance chief for the school system. McMurray, who is retired and did not apply for the permanent position, previously served as interim CFO for Madison City Schools.

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