Public schools

First Posted: 1/15/2009

Positions will be readvertised

LUMBERTON - Two months after Superintendent Colin Armstrong sent a memo to the school board complaining that three central offices positions were vacant, those positions remain unfilled and the process to fill them is essentially at Square One.
Armstrong told board members in a closed session Monday night that he will re-advertise the positions of assistant superintendent of Human Resources, assistant superintendent of Student Services and finance officer. Those positions have been vacant for about six months.
In the November memo, Armstrong said the board hasn’t supported his recommendations to fill the vacancies, saying that has undermined his credibility. In the memo, Armstrong asked the board to help him fill the vacancies or to buy out what remained of his contract.
Other staff members are performing extra duties, which board member Robert Deese said is “causing havoc” at the central office.
“That's not good for a system,” Deese said. “The Board of Education is there to support students in the classroom, but they can't do two peoples' jobs.”
Deese said he hopes the positions will be filled soon.
“I hope everyone has the opportunity to apply so we can move on with this issue,” he said. “This should have been completed no later than September.”
Armstrong had no additional comments about the positions.
The assistant superintendent of Human Resources became vacant when the board didn't extend Johnny Hunt's contract. Hunt was transferred to Prospect School as a principal. Walter Jackson, who served as assistant superintendent of Student Services, was also not offered a contract extension in May. He was transferred to Townsend Middle School as its principal.
Cathy Jacobs resigned as finance officer on July 30, and Arthur Leggett has been working in that position on a interim basis.
In other business, the board approved four three-year contracts for Internet service, cellular service, Cisco equipment and network maintenance. A majority of the contracts will be paid for through grants.
Time Warner Cable, whose bid was $780,000, was awarded the contract to provide Internet service; Cingular, with a bid of $53,040, was awarded the cell phone contract and the school system must pay 14 percent of the cost - $7,425 per year; the Cisco Equipment contract was awarded to Schoollink at $1,259,496 per year and the school system will pay $176,329 of that cost; the Network maintenance contract was awarded to Symbol at an annual cost of $833,311 and the school system must pay $116,663 of that cost.
Also on Monday, the board learned that $7,000 has been spent at Union Chapel Elementary to fix drainage problems.

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