LUMBERTON — Johnny Hunt, the superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County, is receiving a $10,000 bonus.
The Board of Education voted 5 to 4 Tuesday to give Hunt the bonus following a job evaluation conducted by some board members.
The decision to grant Hunt the bonus was hashed out during a closed session of the board’s regular monthly meetin — and the vote came in open session after a reporter for The Robesonian had left.
Loistine DeFreece, the board’s vice chairman, JoAnn Lowery, Bosco Locklear, John Campbell and Gary Strickland voted in favor of the bonus, and Dwayne Smith, Randy Lawson, Steve Martin and Brenda Fairley-Ferebee voted against. Board member Severeo Kerns was not at the meeting and Chairman Mike Smith only votes to break ties.
Dwayne Smith said he could not support giving the superintendent the bonus when teachers, teacher assistants, principals and other school employees who get good annual evaluations get nothing.
“Johnny is great to work with and he has done a tremendous job, but it’s hard to understand and justify why we can’t supplement our teachers and other school employees who also are evaluated each year,” Smith said. “I support our teachers and faculty. It’s a shame. They work with our kids and get evaluated every year and they get nothing but a pat on the back and a handshake.”
Fairley-Ferebee said that the bonus was granted on politics.
“Politics need to be taken out of the process,” she said. “We need to abide by the (superintendent’s) contract.”
Smith, the chairman, told The Robesonian this morning that if he had cast a vote he would have voted to grant Hunt the bonus.
“Everything on his evaluation was outstanding or above average,” Smith said. “He had no real bad marks.”
Smith said that the board is very “conscious and appreciative” of what school personnel do and reward them whenever possible.
“There are a lot of indicators that the schools are doing well and it takes everyone to make this happen,” he said. “But he is the man in charge and makes sure everything gets done. He is like the CEO of a large corporation.”
In August, the board extended Hunt’s contract by three years. In addition to extending his contract by three years, Hunt,who was making about $175,000 a year, received a raise of $10,000 each year of the extended contract.
Smith said this morning that there are no bonuses for the superintendent written into his current contract.
Hunt began his teaching career in the Public Schools of Robeson County in 1977. He started out as a social studies teacher at Southside Ashpole in Rowland and taught at six schools in the Public Schools of Robeson County before he became assistant superintendent for Human Resources for the district.
He is a former trustee of Robeson Community College and served 18 years as a Robeson County commissioner, including 12 as the board’s chairman. He stepped down as a commissioner in 1996 after he was named the schools superintendent.