The Medford School Board has renewed the contract of Medford schools Superintendent Phil Long for three years.

The Medford School Board has renewed the contract of Medford schools Superintendent Phil Long for three years.

Long's contractual salary increase was pared down from 3 percent to 2.5 percent annually to align with the union raises of teachers and support staff.

The increase brings Long's salary up to $128,750 per year for 2007-08.

"He has proved to be an effective leader for the district, and the board is confident he can continue to lead us in a good direction," said Board President Larry Nicholson.

Long was hired as district chief in 2005 without experience as a superintendent. He was promoted to superintendent from curriculum and elementary education director with more than 20 years working in the district.

When he was hired, Long said he was committed to restoring public confidence in schools by focusing on quality instruction, fiscal responsibility and openness.

Long thanked the School Board on Tuesday for taking a chance in hiring a novice for the superintendency, crediting some of his success in the position in part to hiring a talented group of central administrators.

While test scores in Medford schools have generally improved in the last two years, the district has faced some criticism for its handling of a $189 million bond package approved by voters in November.

Officials drew ire from some North Medford High parents after deciding to scale back on a remodeling project at the high school. The school will still undergo significant renovation, but a plan to build a two-story structure to help consolidate the porous campus was scrapped.

It also remains to be seen whether there is enough bond money to complete all the projects district officials promised to voters.

School Board members plan to review the budget for each project in July.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.