LUMBERTON — Negotiations between Johnny Hunt, the superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County, and school board members are under way over a new contract for the district’s top administrator. Hunt is in the final year of a three-year contract.
Mike Smith, the board’s chairman, said that the “consensus” of board members is that they want the superintendent back.
“We could possibly have something by our next meeting,” Smith said. “We have had preliminary discussions.”
The Board of Education meets next on Aug. 14.
The major issues that Hunt and the board will have to work out, according to Smith, are salary and length of contract. Hunt currently makes about $175,000 a year.
Smith said he believes the superintendent’s salary can be negotiated to the extent that the superintendent and most board members will be satisfied. The board is currently reviewing information from the state School Boards Association that compares the salaries of superintendents in school districts of between 10,000 and 25,000 enrolled students.
According to data compiled by the School Boards Association, Robeson County has a student enrollment of 23,492 students and a superintendent paid $175,000. This compares to the enrollment and superintendent’s salary in the following counties: New Hanover, 24,368 students, $200,000 salary; Alamance, 22,400 students, $201,000 salary; Brunswick, 12,000 students, $155,000 salary; Wilson, 12,000 students, $193,000 salary; Moore, 12,528 students, $172,000; and Cumberland, 52,000 students, $238,000.
“I think this (salary) is negotiable with the superintendent,” Smith said. “He loves education, is passionate about education, and he wants Robeson County to the best it can be.”
Smith acknowledged that there are some board members who have expressed “concerns” about the superintendent during contract discussions.
“Never will everyone agree,” Smith said, “but a majority of the board members think he has done a good job.”
Smith said he personally is pleased with the way Hunt has moved the school district forward over the past few years.
“He’s done a good job considering all of the budget constraints he’s had to work under,” Smith said. “Under his leadership the school district has been getting the max out of the dollar. We’ve all been been very frugal.”
On Friday, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction released its annual ABCs of Public Education report card, which showed that 29 of 41 schools in Robeson County met or exceeded expected growth for 2011-12 school year . The local system’s graduation rate of about 82 percent is above the state average.
Hunt could not be reached for this story. Efforts to contact other school board members of Friday also failed.
Reach Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.