School board extends director’s contract

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 27, 2015

NW0527 County School Board

The Carter County Board of Education voted to extend Director of Schools Kevin Ward’s contract during their monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The board voted 7-1 to extend the contract as it currently stands, with Ronnie McAmis casting the only vote against the extension.

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Board attorney John Banks told the group they could choose to extend the contract, or could take no action on it. The contract comes with a salary of around $90,800 for Ward, which is set by the state based on the size of the school system, Banks said.

The contract can be terminated at will by either party, and if the board terminates the contract with no cause, Ward is eligible for six months of additional compensation after the termination.

Ward served as interim director from July 1, 2012 until June 30, 2013 after former director Shirley Ellis retired. He was named permanent director on June 30, 2013.

“I appreciate your vote of confidence and the two-year contract extension,” Ward said.

Coming into the position, Ward said one of the top area of focus for the school system was to improve test scores, which will continue to be a main focal point for the next two years. He said the system would also have to face the challenges of increased online testing and the addition of the response to intervention programs into the high schools.

“When the rubber meets the road, all the effort in meeting these challenges comes from the teachers and the principals and the staff,” Ward said.

The board also approved the balanced draft of the 2015-2016 general purpose fund, which has a total balance of around $40 million.

“The high point of this is the general purpose fund draft is balanced,” county Finance Director Ingrid Deloach said. “Right now it is just a draft because there are so many unknowns. When the unknowns become known, I will present the final budget to you for approval.”

Some of the unknowns are the Basic Education Program funding, yet to be set, as well as government funding totals that have not been finalized.

The board approved the purchase of Active Directory, a hardware and software system that will “push” updates out to the systems’ computers over a one- to two-day period.

Secondary Supervisor Danny McClain explained the system would be beneficial when the online testing becomes more common for the students. McClain explained the system did not have enough staff to visit each computer to do updates and that it would be “impossible” for the staff to reach all the computers in a timely matter to install the update before testing began.