The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

August 13, 2013

Limestone CFO departing for Hartselle

By Kim West

— Hartselle City Schools reeled in a chief financial officer Monday when the board agreed to a contract with Limestone CFO Jonathan Craft.

The three-year contract is effective Sept. 1, and will pay the 35-year-old Craft $90,000 annually.

His contract approval caps a 6-month search for the Hartselle school board, which previously offered the job to finalists in May and July but buth candidates accepted counteroffers to remain with their employers.

Craft, whose current salary is $83,499, has served as the Limestone finance chief since 2002. Craft is staying long enough to ensure Limestone’s budget is ready for the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Hartselle Superintendent Vic Wilson said on Tuesday that he and Dr. Tom Sisk, superintendent of Limestone County Schools, are working to ensure both systems are prepared for the new budget year and upcoming budget hearings. The Limestone budget hearing is set at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, at the Clinton Street courthouse annex.

Craft has already spoken to Lisa McMurray, interim CFO for Hartselle, about the Hartselle budget. McMurray, who contracted with the Hartselle school system through Finatra in Athens, did not seek the permanent position and has filled in since Sarita Tapscott, who made $77,040 as the Hartselle CFO, accepted a $92,000 salary in January to take the same position with Alabaster City Schools.

“Dr Sisk and I are going to work it out so (Craft) can get through the budget hearings for Limestone County, and it might a situation where we let him go back when necessary,” Wilson said. “We’ve intentionally set up our budget hearings for Sept. 12 and Sept. 16, and I most whole-heartedly think it’s going to be an excellent transition because both are really excellent CFOs.”

The Limestone school board held a called work session that was ongoing as of of press time Tuesday to discuss replacing Craft.