The Pine Bluff School District Board of Directors voted to renew the contracts of several administrators while deciding that two directors would not be returning for the 2012-2013 academic year during a tense called meeting Wednesday night.

The Pine Bluff School District Board of Directors voted to renew the contracts of several administrators while deciding that two directors would not be returning for the 2012-2013 academic year during a tense called meeting Wednesday night.

District superintendent Jerry O. Payne began to read a list containing the names of all administrative office department heads so that the board could vote on them as a block, but board president Herman Horace interrupted him.

“We agreed that you would read each name one at a time,” Horace said to Payne.

Payne then read the name of Mia Meadows, director of curriculum and instruction, and recommended the renewal of her contract.

Board secretary Freddie M. Johnson introduced a motion to reject the recommendation.

“I move that we don’t accept the superintendent’s recommendation because we were told that this position was for one year until a deputy superintendent could be hired,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s action caused Payne to leap to the defense of Meadows.

“We recruited people from all over the country as directors and not assistant superintendents,” Payne said. “People don’t move their families across the country for a temporary position. I respectfully disagree with that. I recommended candidates based on their performance in the district. People were not told that they would be here for only one year. There is nothing they haven’t done that is not professional.”

Johnson was ready with an answer for Payne.

“The board did not accept the reorganization that you asked for,” Johnson said. “You told us you would continue looking for a deputy superintendent and assistant superintendents. The board never agreed to adjust the district.”

Horace called for a vote.

“All in favor to discard this director,” Horace said followed by a unanimous vote in favor of Johnson’s motion.

The board also approved a motion made by director Ellen Nichol and seconded by Johnson not to rehire Mary A. Harvey, director of human resources and communications.

“I move we don’t rehire Mary Harvey,” Nichol said.

After the vote Payne called for a show of hands from the board members to indicate who was for and who was against the motion not to rehire Harvey but was rebuffed by Horace.

The board approved the renewal of contracts for Pam Winkler, director of business/finance; Kelvin Gragg, director of federal and state programs; Suzette Anderson, director of health and student services; Pearl Matlock, food service director; Bobby Bolding, athletic director and head football coach; Lester Johnson, transportation director; and Seth Wynne, auxiliary services director.

The board approved Payne’s recommendation to rehire all certified teachers in the district for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The board approved the contract renewals of school principals, including Clintontine Fitz at Broadmoor Elementary; Karen Enright at Greenville Elementary; Alfred Carroll at Southwood Elementary; Verneice Lowery at Thirty-Fourth Avenue Elementary; Georgia Sanders at Forrest Park Pre-School; Robbie Williams at Belair Middle; and Cheryl Hatley at Southeast Middle.

The board approved the contract renewals of assistant principals, including Robert McGhee at Southeast and Belair Middle; Eric Elders and Ronnieus Thompson at Jack Robey Junior High; and Earleen Collins at Pine Bluff High.

The board also approved the contract renewals of Robert Age as alternate school director at First Ward Learning Center; Sheryl Kearney as gifted/talented director at Scoggins-May Hall GT Center; Freddie Jolivette as parent center coordinator at Jordan-Chanay Center; and Monica O’Briant as VIPS Coordinator at Jordan-Chanay Center.

New attorney

The board approved the hiring of Luther Sutter of Benton as attorney for the district.

Payne attempted to clarify with the board whether Sutter would be handling two pending lawsuits in which Spencer Robinson, former attorney for the district, had offered to continue to represent the district despite his decision to cease representation of the district in all other matters.

“He will be serving in whatever way the board needs,” Horace said.

Johnson sought to clarify what appeared to be a misunderstanding of Payne’s question by Horace.

“I think what the superintendent is asking is if the firm will continue to represent the district for the two pending lawsuits,” Johnson said.

Horace said that the board will be sending Robinson’s firm of Ramsay, Bridgforth, Robinson and Raley, LLP a letter asking it to continue to represent the district in the two pending lawsuits.