The Pine Bluff School Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday for the first time since a dispute arose centering on the contract of Pine Bluff High School Principal Michael Nellums.

The Pine Bluff School Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday for the first time since a dispute arose centering on the contract of Pine Bluff High School Principal Michael Nellums.


The school board voted to pay money retroactively to Nellums on Oct. 3 but Superintendent Linda Watson has not authorized any check to Nellums, saying she does not believe she would be following the law if she did so. Watson repeatedly warned the board against adjusting Nellums’ salary, fearing it would trigger an audit finding and push the district into fiscal distress.


The issue centers on the legality of making a retroactive payment. Watson has said the issue involves the legality of paying money to Nellums retroactively from 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 in the amount of $19,780 and paying a stipend in 2014-2015 of $8,000.


The meeting agenda does not explicitly state that the board will consider Nellums’ contract. However, the board could consider it under "personnel" or under "employee compensation resolution."


"We are planning to discuss [Nellums’ contract]," Board President Harold Jackson said. "Most things will be coming up in the open meeting. No one is trying to hide anything. We do not have any hidden agendas."


In other business, the agenda shows the following items listed under superintendent’s report: minority recruitment report, eSchool training, salary review study, 2013-2014 performance report to the public and closing of First Ward School.


Watson has previously made recommendations related to using money wisely, considering Pine Bluff’s enrollment declined by 445 students over the past three years. As a result, the school district has seen a decline of $1,972,000 in funding, Watson has said.


To save money, Watson has mentioned the closure of the First Ward School.


The minority recruitment report pertains to meeting state law. Districts whose enrollment is at least 5 percent ethnic minority must document their efforts to hire ethnic minority teachers in accordance with the Arkansas Department of Education.


The eSchool training is Web-based student management software, Pine Bluff School District spokeswoman Kenetta Ridgell said. The system includes all phases of student management, including demographics, medical, discipline, testing, scheduling, grades and attendance. This is the district’s first year using the software, Ridgell said.


The annual report to the public highlights the district’s performance from 2013-2014.


The board will be receiving training at 5 p.m. from T.C. Wallace, a former superintendent of schools in Nashville, Tenn.; Mount Clemons, Mich.; Lansing, Mich.; and Jackson, Miss. The training is not in response to any contract dispute, Jackson said.


The regular board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the district administration building.