Without discussing the details of the changes to her contract, the Henrico County School Board on Thursday agreed to give Superintendent Amy Cashwell an additional $20,000 annually for her retirement fund.
School system spokesman Andy Jenks said the School Board negotiated the new benefit after the Virginia Retirement System had to clarify that Cashwell’s monthly vehicle allowance cannot be included in the calculation of her pension.
“This definition applies to all members, not just superintendents,” said VRS spokeswoman Jeanne Chenault. “Excluding vehicle allowances is not new.”
Jenks said school officials had intended Cashwell’s $1,200 monthly vehicle stipend to be counted toward her total compensation for the retirement system’s consideration. Under the amended terms of her contract, the county will set aside $1,666 each month for her retirement, according to Jenks.
“In light of the board’s support of what she has done in her first year and to rectify the creditable compensation issue, the board wanted to provide her with an additional amount in the form of deferred compensation,” he said.
Cashwell started in Henrico in July 2018. Jenks said her salary this year will be $217,726, which does not include the $20,000.
The vehicle stipend works out to $14,400 per year; the negotiated amount is $5,600 more per year.
“We needed to modify her contract so that she’ll still have that,” said Beverly Cocke, who represents the Brookland District on the School Board. “We wanted to set it right.”
Cocke and Roscoe Cooper, the board’s vice chairman, said they have been pleased with Cashwell’s performance. They said she has excelled at engaging the community and being present at meetings.
“We feel that’s she’s done a good job and making improvements, going in the right direction,” Cooper said. “It’s not an exorbitant amount, but it’s just our way of saying to her that we feel she’s doing a good job.”
The school system did not publicize the amount of new compensation or any other details about the contract amendment ahead of Thursday’s vote.
Cashwell, the county’s first female superintendent, came from the Virginia Beach school district last year to succeed former Superintendent Patrick Kinlaw, who retired after four years as head of Henrico schools.
Cashwell had worked since 2013 as Virginia Beach’s chief academic officer for teaching and learning, reporting directly to the superintendent and overseeing multiple departments. Before that, she worked for five years as a teacher in Virginia Beach and later as an assistant principal and principal there.
Her contract with the Henrico School Board remains in place through the 2021-22 school year.