Rome Schools: Closer look at the salaries of three senior football coaches, the superintendent and his wife. The coaches together will earn almost $550,000 between March 2015 and this summer; the Byars, about $208,000 a year.

Rome Schools: Closer look at the salaries of three senior football coaches, the superintendent and his wife. The coaches together will earn almost $550,000 between March 2015 and this summer; the Byars, about $208,000 a year.

209 pages of Rome City Schools’ personnel files and contracts in response to Hometown Headlines‘ Open Records request. This was the first time in 40 years and three states that we were charged — and at the max rate allowed by Georgia law. Copies: 10 cents each. Someone making $23.54 an hour spent 4.25 hours gathering the documents. The person was “the lowest paid full-time employee with the necessary skill and training to perform the request.” That person earns close to $48,000 a year. That’s about what Gina Byars, the superintendent’s wife and the human resource coordinator, earns, per city records. Our tab: $121. We’ll appeal.


With resignations and retirements sweeping Rome High and other city schools, changes among superintendents and the expanding grasp of Rome City Schools’ football, Hometown Headlines last week requested the contracts and personnel files of newly hired Superintendent Louis Byars, Rome High Coach John Reid, his chief assistants and others within the school system. This was the first of several requests we’ll be making.

We were given a legal-size envelope containing 209 pages by School Board attorney Chris Twyman on Wednesday morning. Below please see some of the findings — all directly from those reports:

Rome’s three senior football coaches together have grossed nearly $550,000 (February 2015-this summer). That’s salaries alone.

Head Coach John Reid’s salary is now $115,455. We will add some comparison county coach salaries later today (we understand Reid is now system athletics director and will compare like positions). Reid began working with the school system upon the announcement he had been named football coach. His gross salary at Rome for the 2014-15 school year (through June 30) was $34,041. He had been head coach at Tift County High.

Louis Byars, school superintendent, got a $50,000 increase in his base salary after serving as chief operations officer and interim schools chief. His current salary is $160,000 a year. Coupled with the nearly $49,000 his wife earns from the school system as human resources coordinator, that’s a combined $208,000 annual gross salary — before benefits.

According to Rome City Schools’ salaries breakdown, a senior teacher with more than 21 years of service earns $76,881 a year.


Head Football Coach John Reid:

Signed his first contract with Rome City Schools on Feb. 20, 2015, covering the remainder of the 2014-15 schedule year. The contract was signed bythen-Superintendent Mike Buck.

  • March 1-June 30, 2015: Reid joined Rome’s payroll with a March gross check for $10,291 followed by monthly statements for $7,916 in April, May and June. Total for 2014-15 school year: $34,041. His average salary over the four months from Rome: $8,510.25
  • July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016: Reid earned $95,400 in salary from Rome High.
  • July 1, 2016-March 24, 2017: Through last month, Reid earned $83,904 with three months to go in the contract.
  • In December, Reid’s gross pay was $8,237.50. That was the month Rome High won the 5A state football championship. In January, February and March, Reid was paid $10,516 each month.
  • Between July 1 and March 24, Reid’s year-to-date income at Rome High was $83,904. Assuming he earned the same $10,516 this month, in late May and late June, his estimate gross salary for the school year would be $115,455. Reid started the school year at a monthly rate of $8,237; he finished at $10,517 a month, almost a $2,300 a month increase.
  • Reid has signed his contract for the 2017-18 school year.

Chris Boden, Offensive Coordinator/quarterbacks

Boden signed his first contract with then-Superintendent Mike Buck on May 18, 2015. It included a start date of July 6, 2015.

  • April 1-June 30, 2015, Boden received $3,841 in monthly gross pay or $11,573.
  • July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016: Boden started the school year earning $4,331 which grew to $6,217 in September and to $6,425 in June 2016. His gross salary that year: $79,802.80.
  • July 1, 2016-March 24, 2017: Boden’s gross monthly pay started at $6,112 in July, jumped to $8,688 in September and then stayed around $6,360 through last month. His year-to-date salary after nine months was $59,125. Adding that rate for April, May and June, Boden’s expected gross salary for the school year will be $78,205.
  • Boden signed a contract to return for the 2017-18 school year on April 4.

Wayne Groves, Defensive Coordinator/defensive backs

Groves signed his first contract with then-Superintendent Mike Buck on June 25, 2015 for the 2015-16 school year.

  • Aug 1, 2015: For a fiscal year from Sept. 1, 2014 through Aug 31, 2015, city records show Groves earned a gross salary of $4,218.
  • Sept. 1, 2015-Aug. 31, 2016: Groves’ monthly gross salary started at $5,921, dipped to $5,069 through Aug. 31, 2016.  His year-to-date salary: $61,687.
  • Sept. 1, 2016-March 24, 2017: Groves opened the year at $7,341, dropped to $5,398 for subsequent months through March 24 (the last city check with the next due later this month). His year-to-date salary was $39,731. As his salary has been on a different schedule, Groves has five months left in that fiscal year — now through Aug. 31. Assuming five months at the $5,398 rate, Groves gross annual salary would be $66,721.
  • Groves signed a contract to return for the new school year on April 4..


Louis Byars, Rome schools superintendent

Appointed interim superintendent last fall following Mike Buck’s surprise retirement, Byars had worked for Rome City Schools as payroll manager from 2008-09 and later as director of finance from 2009-11. He became director of financial review for the state Department of Education soon after John Barge won the state superintendent’s spot in the 2010 election. Buck also moved from the Rome system to Atlanta to serve as Barge’s second-in-command. Barge ran for governor in 2014 (and lost). Byars joined the Calhoun City Schools administration as director of finance in 2014. Buck returned to Rome as superintendent after he lost his bid to be state superintendent in the 2014 Republican primary.

Byars stayed in Calhoun until he applied for the chief operations officer post with Rome City Schools, a new position. On his application, he wrote, “I am a product of RCS and know that it is an excellent school system. I believe I have a lot to offer and can help further its pursuit of excellence.” He signed his employment contract on Feb. 9, 2015. Prior to 2008, Byars worked in the private sector including Galey & Lord, HON and others. He was hired by Buck, then serving as Rome superintendent.

Byars signed an employment agreement as superintendent of Rome City Schools on March 14, 2017. It calls for a base salary of $160,000 plus additional perks and benefits. That contract was signed by Faith Collins, school board chair, and Cheryl Huffman, vice chair. The contract expires June 30, 2020.

  • February-June 30, 2015: Byars earned $39,416. He earned $11,916 in March and a gross salary of $9,017 a month in April, May and June.
  • July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016: Byars earned $110,000. His gross monthly salary was $9,167 per month.
  • July 1, 2016-March 24, 2017: Byars started the new year at the same monthly rate but jumped to $12,467 in September (his appointment as interim superintendent), to $15,866 in October, to $13,341 in November-January, and to $14,064 in March. Through March, his gross salary was $114,094.

Gina Byars, schools’ human resource coordinator

The wife of Superintendent Lou Byars, she has had a long career with Rome City Schools.

  • July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015: Annual gross salary of $43,147.
  • July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016: Annual gross salary of $45,368.
  • July 1, 2016-March 24, 2017: Year-to-date salary of $35,780. Her monthly pay is listed as $3,822 so multiply it by three and you get an annual base salary estimate of $47,246.
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