The Watson Chapel School Board did not act Monday night on the superintendent’s contract concerning a possible extension.
School board member Sandra Boone made a motion to table the consideration “until we have done the proper evaluation according to state mandate.”
Fellow board members Mack Milner, Goldie Whitaker, Ronnie Reynolds, Charles Alan Frazier and Kevin Moore voted for the motion without any public discussion, having previously met in executive session for about 30 minutes. Superintendent Connie Hathorn entered the executive session and then emerged within three minutes saying he was asked to not take part in the executive session.
After the meeting, Board President Donnie Hartsfield addressed the state law in question.
“We have to do a yearly evaluation to be in compliance,” Hartsfield said. “It is our understanding that the company that we used to hire Dr. Hathorn had put a proposal in there where they would do the first year’s evaluation. We are waiting to find out if that’s correct. If it’s not, we will do our own evaluation.”
Hartsfield added that “this is not a reflection on Dr. Hathorn,” referring to the tabling of the discussion.
Watson Chapel hired educational search firm McPherson & Jacobson to select a list of qualified candidates from which the board hired Hathorn on July 1, 2015.
Hartsfield clarified that McPherson & Jacobson has not sent an evaluation of Hathorn from his first year as the superintendent of the Watson Chapel School District.
In other news, Watson Chapel Junior High School Principal Henry Webb discussed the Rev. Jesse Turner’s challenge to seventh-and-eighth-grade students to boycott violence. Webb accepted the challenge last week on behalf of the district to honor the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Leaders of the Pine Bluff and Dollarway districts also accepted the challenge.
Turner is challenging students to boycott violence, bullying, and fights from Jan. 9 to Feb. 10. to honor King’s legacy of peace. Turner said the district that reduces its number of incidents will be honored.
Reynolds responded that he wants students of all grades to boycott violence forever. As a security guard in the Pine Bluff School District, Reynolds said he wants all stakeholders to increase their expectations to an end to violence.
“It is a new year,” Reynolds said. “I am claiming 2017 as a zero-tolerance year.”
Hathorn also discussed certified public accountant company Cobb and Suskie’s audit of the district. Hathorn said Cobb and Suskie did not find any problems, and he thanked the district business manager/treasurer Norma Walker.
In financial news, Hathorn said the district received $1,642,605 in revenue in December 2016 and spent $1,634,356 in the non-activity fund, leaving an ending balance of $8,770,238. The board approved the financial statement without discussion.
In softball field news, coach Jessica Heird gave an update on the building of a field. She said that Relyance Bank spent $10,000 to buy a scoreboard. The group is going to ask businesses to donate money to buy a public address system.