Some School Board Members Want To Extend Contract Of Supt. Johnson; Discussion Ends Abruptly

Monday, January 13, 2020

County School Board member Joe Smith said Monday he wants to extend the contract of Supt. Bryan Johnson, who still has two years left on his term.

He said he fears that "a headhunter for another school system may come along and snatch him up."

However, board members Rhonda Thurman and Steve Highlander raised objections to the plan. While Dr. Highlander was still speaking, Supt. Johnson interrupted and said that could be a discussion with the school attorney.

Ms. Thurman then declared, "This is our meeting. If the superintendent doesn't like it, he can leave. "

Chairman Joe Wingate then adjourned the discussion and moved on to another topic.

Before that could take place, board member Tucker McClendon said he agreed with Mr. Smith. He said, "I'd like to see something happen sooner than later."

Mr. Smith said he was "real worried" that Dr. Johnson would leave.

Ms. Thurman said there were two years left and "he's not going anywhere. But if he wants to leave and somebody is willing to let him go, then let him go. Somebody with bigger plans will come along."

Dr. Highlander said Dr. Johnson had "done some very good things," but he said the superintendent had "missed two opportunities to give raises to the teachers who are the boots on the ground."

That is the point that Supt. Johnson cut in.

Mr. Smith at the start of the talk said there was a document about ready on the extension. He said the board could not act at that meeting or at the Thursday regular board session. He said a 15-day wait was required.

He recommended that the board meet Jan. 30 on the contract extension vote. However, nothing further was said on that suggestion.

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