The Richmond County Board of Education approved a personnel plan that will keep the employees from the schools that are closing, Cordova Elementary and Rohanen Primary. Some will be moved to schools other than East Rockingham. The decision was made after a 20 minute closed session at a special called meeting Tuesday afternoon.
The Richmond County Schools Personnel Report for the meeting shows 33 certified staff members and 22 non-certified staff members will be transferred to East Rockingham Elementary next year.
All of the non-certified and the bulk of the certified staff members will be drawn from Cordova and Rohanen, while a teacher each will be pulled from the Richmond County Transitional School, Monroe Avenue and L.J. Bell. Two will come from Fairview Heights.
There are also three certified and three non-certified exceptional children staff members that are being transferred to the new elementary school.
Another 17 administrative transfers and six certified personnel transfers will remake the principal teams at Richmond Senior High, Rockingham Middle and the Ninth Grade Academy.
At the high school, Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Hal Shuler and Assistant Principal Dennis Quick will move to other schools, while Assistant Principal Kevin Mabe will take over the role of athletic director at the school.
Shuler will become an assistant principal at Rockingham Middle, and Quick will become an assistant principal at the Ninth Grade Academy.
William Kelley, who is principal at West Rockingham Elementary, will move on to be an assistant principal at Richmond Senior, as will Rockingham Middle assistant principals Chuck McLean and Jamie Greene.
Former Cordova Elementary Principal Willette Surgeon will take over Kelley’s job at West Rockingham, while former Rohanen Primary Principal Wendy Jordan will take over the same position at Mineral Springs. Mineral Springs Principal Terri Brown will become an assistant principal at Rohanen Middle.
The Ninth Grade Academy picked up Quick, but lost Assistant Principal Earl Nicholson, who will be a math teacher next year. Bellamy Goins, an assistant principal at the Ninth Grade Academy, will be an academic officer at Leak Street High School.
Rockingham Middle is picking up Shuler and Monroe Avenue Assistant Principal Angela Watkins, while it loses McLean and Greene.
The new principal at Fairview Heights will be L.J. Bell Assistant Principal Julian Carter. He replaces East Rockingham Elementary Principal Keith McKenzie.
Former North Carolina Teacher of the Year candidate Martha Anderson was also given a new assignment for next year. She will teach at Fairview Heights after serving as a mentor coach at Hamlet Middle last year.
There was no discussion of the personnel report in open session, aside from a motion to approve and a unanimous vote.
The school board also moved on an irrigation plan for East Rockingham Elementary that came in over budget, and approved the school’s choice of the “Panthers” as the school mascot.
Outgoing school board member Tom McInnis voted against the irrigation plan because he felt there weren’t enough bidders brought into the fold. Associate Superintendent Dr. Robert Beck told the board six firms expressed interest in the contract, but only three submitted a bid.
Bryant’s Turf and Landscaping was awarded the contract to install the irrigation system at East Rockingham for more than $33,270. Their total bid on irrigation and landscaping was more than $91,000, which was about $38,000 less than the next lowest bidder.
“The problem is that we’ve got about a $13 million school out there at a sandy location where all the grass and plants are going to die,” Beck said, explaining the school system asked Bryant’s to break the irrigation layout into phases.
“I think the irrigation system is important right now,” board member Wiley Mabe said.
“My issue is that there’s more people in the landscaping business than just them in Richmond County,” McInnis said, explaining a more competitive bidding process could save taxpayer dollars.
Board member Bruce Stanback made a motion to approve the expenditure.
“I just think it’s too nice of a school to be sitting out there with dead grass,” Stanback said.
Mabe seconded the motion, and it was approved by Chairman Kenneth Goodman, board member Pam Easterling and Mabe and Stanback, while McInnis voted no. Board members Cathy Wilson and Ed Ormsby were not present at the meeting.
“I vote ‘Nay’ because I am unimpressed with the process, not because I have anything against the contractor or the project,” McInnis said for the record.
In other business:
n The school board approved a plan to combine parent and teacher conference and staff development days at the county’s high schools.
Beck explained the staff development days are being added, and will cause the schools to lose two half-days of instruction time and two half-days of instruction time are already being lost to parent-teacher conferences.
“The conferences would start at 3 p.m.,” Beck said.
“From 3 to 6, is that enough time to see all the parents?” Goodman asked.
“If anyone’s there, they’re not going to leave without seeing them,” Beck said.
“I’m kind of like you, Mr. Chairman, I just wonder if that’s going to be enough time to see all of our parents,” McInnis commented before a vote was taken. “How many parents would a particular teacher try to accommodate in those three hours?”
“Hypothetically, we’d like to see them all, but in reality, typically about 25 percent of our parents show up,” Beck answered. “And if anyone’s standing in the door, they’re going to be seen. They don’t have to leave right then.”
The measure won unanimous approval.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at email@example.com.