Schools could talk superintendent tonight

By: Staff report

LUMBERTON — Representatives of the North Carolina School Board Association office that has advised the local school board on previous superintendent searches will be at its meeting tonight.

School board Chairperson Peggy Wilkins Chavis said she invited Allison Schafer, the association’s legal counsel and director of policy, to speak to board members about what needs to be done in order to have a permanent schools superintendent in place by July 1, the start of the district’s next fiscal year. She asked interim Superintendent Shanita Wooten to add Schafer’s appearance to the agenda, Chavis said.

An agenda that was provided The Robesonian on Friday did not include an appearance by Schafer or any North Carolina School Board Association representative. In order for an North Carolina School Board Association representative to make a presentation tonight, he or she must be added to the agenda in a vote of the board.

“It’s going to be interesting Tuesday night,” Chavis said.

Schafer has said she can’t be at the board meeting because of a previously scheduled commitment, Chavis said. But two lawyers from Schafer’s office are expected to attend the school board meeting to answer questions and offer advice.

She is sure the agenda will be amended to include the presentation, Chavis said.

Schafer and her staff have advised the school board several times during superintendent searches, including in 2006 when Johnny Hunt was hired, 2015 when Tommy Lowry was hired and in 2017 when the board was unable to come to a consensus and named Wooten interim superintendent.

The board has said Wooten will serve as superintendent through June.

Schafer, in an email to board members, advised them of three choices: name Wooten or someone else the superintendent immediately; begin a search now and allow Wooten to continue as the interim through June; or allow Wooten to continue as interim until the end of June, name another interim, and then begin the search.

“We recommend that the board take some time at its next meeting to discuss these options and decide how it would like to proceed. I will suggest that you have us come to the meeting to get direction from the board and respond to any questions,” Schafer wrote in her email to the board members.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. at Lumberton City Hall, which has been its meeting place since the system’s central office was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The Robesonian plans to live stream the meeting on Facebook.

Included on the agenda are presentations on the teacher attendance incentive by Thomas Benson, the school calendar and the summer testing plan by Bobby Locklear, an update on Golden LEAF funding by Hugh McIlwain, a policy update by Wooten, and a financial report by Erica Setzer.

The board also is expected to retreat behind closed doors to discuss legal matters and personnel.

Staff report