What was initially thought to be a unanimous decision Thursday night by the Pine Bluff School Board not to renew Superintendent Michael Robinson’s contract was, in fact, a 5-2 vote in favor of the measure.
Board members Lakeisha Hill and Miranda Williams were against the motion and felt that Robinson’s contract should be extended, the pair said on Friday without further elaboration. A Commercial reporter was told by a district official after Thursday’s meeting that the vote had been unanimous.
After a two-hour long executive session to evaluate Robinson, Board President Herman Horace made the motion to not extend the contract.
According to a copy of the contract, Robinson was hired June 6, 2016, through June 30, 2019. An evaluation is given annually, between January and February, to determine if superintendents’ contracts should be extended or not. Extending this contract means that a year or two could be added to the current contract.
“At this time the board just isn’t ready to extend the contract,” Horace said. “We could regroup in June and decide that things are better and we want to extend the contract.”
Horace said that the executive session had taken so long due to the many aspects and elements that have to be evaluated and put together to make a final decision.
Under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act law, the board does not have to discuss the specifics of personnel matters.
When asked why he voted against the extension of Robinson’s contract, board member Henry Dabner said, “I am not satisfied with the way things are going. There are some things that can be done better. I have received calls from many parents and others in the community that are not satisfied as well. I just need to see how the rest of the school year plays out.”
Dabner said that things could change and get better by the end of the school year, and the vote could change at the next evaluation.