Your Turn: Chairman of BOE Answered Questions

REMINDER: Any comments NOT pertaining to Mr. Williams responses  or any that are personal will be deleted.  PH

 

 

This patriot would like to sincerely thank Mr. Shawn Williams for taking time to answer questions from our readers.  Readers:  He didn’t have to do this.  Regardless of our disagreements with the BOE, while others remain silent, Shawn has stood on his convictions and honored our request.

Although the number of questions were low, the quality of the questions showed our readers really do care about our county and schools.  We are striving  to bring Lee County back to being fiscally responsible and our wish is that the two governing boards, Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education, work together for the betterment of our kids and community.

Thank you again, Shawn.

Now Readers – it’s your turn to review his answers and comment.

Review the original questions in this post:

https://leecountync.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/in-all-fairness/

The questions are in italics below, Shawn’s responses are in blue:  

June 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm (Edit)

I AM ANSWERING ALL QUESTIONS AS A SINGLE BOARD MEMBER WITH A SINGLE VOTE. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT ALL BOARD MEMBERS MAY NOT FEEL THE SAME WAY I DO, BUT SINCE YOU ASKED ME TO RESPOND I AM DOING IT TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY.

I want to know, why is Dr. Moss and several Central Office personnel receiving raises and bonus’? We have been told that it is because they have taken on additional duties….what duties, C.O. hasn’t lost that many positions that they are taking on that much extra work. Unfortunately you had received wrong information. The raises for some of the poeple in Central office had nothing to do with additional duties.

Also, if they get a raise for more work what about the teachers who have lost assistants or tutors and they now have additional duties and tasks to perform….shouldn’t they get a raise then? I would agree with you that all of the teachers in the system have done an extraordinary job in light of the different cut backs, and they have continued to move forward and our students have continued to grow in all areas.

In addition…why did Dr. Moss get a bonus? It was said that it was to keep him because a CEO of a major company would get it…..well what about people with an education equal to that of our teachers and assistants? I heard Dr. Moss got the bonus to retain him like a company does for a CEO, well I know of companies that give their employess bonus’ to keep them. So is Lee County Schools not concerned about the people working directly with the students? Do they no want to keep the dedicated professionals that they have? We are concerned about all of the employees, but unfortunately we can’t give all employees raises.

In July 2010 the Board of Education approved all contracts with salary amounts. The Central Office salary schedule was presented to the Board for approval. In that decision it was decided to change the titles of two of the people in the Central Office from Directors to Associate Superintendents. With that title change it moved them up on the State Salary Schedule, but nothing came from local dollars. As for Dr. Moss it was the opinion of this Board Member that we had a good superintedent, and that we didn’t need for him to leave to go to another County. I think it is important that the key leader remains in place to give stability to an organization, especially if they are doing a good job. Lee County over the last few years have had several superintendents, and walking in the door as Chairman I wanted to make sure we had someone that would be with system for a while, and so that is why Dr. Moss had received a raise, and in 2011 he didn’t get any raise that year, so it was the mind to correct that.  

  • Mr. Williams, how do you justify giving Moss and a few select other county office employees raises while pay for teachers, assistants, and other staff goes down (and yes, I said down – keep in mind that health insurance for employees took another hit, and teachers are being asked to take on more extra work that used to come with modest (but still respectful to the extra effort) stipends? I believed I answered this question in the first question. Unfortunately I have no control over what the State Legislatures do in reference to health insurance and budget cuts. If it was up to me and I had the power to, I would love to see our teachers get supplemts that is in line with other Counties, but that takes action on the part of a total BOE and BOC, maybe in the near future that can happen.

    Also, do you have a plan for fairly compensating these employees as well as you have done for central office? There are ways of making employees feel valuable and respected and not all of them cost money, although a long range plan to increase the supplement would be appreciated. I answered the supplement question above. I think every school has some sort of recognition program that they do. I think this year we started two recognitions for teachers such as web page of the month, and clean school award. There may be other things that can be done, and it may be possible if you have some ideas of other recognition programs that you would share.

  • Rumor, because I cannot get this confirmed, is that Warren Williams was shut down by the BOE or Mr. Moss suddenly last week due to the General Assembly’s budget that reduced funding for More at Four and consolidation with another program. Rep Stone’s office is getting call after call on it. Can you confirm this? It is as you called it just a rumor. Warren Williams is still open and will remain open at this time. We are awaiting the allocation from the State on the number of slots we will be able to fill at Warren Williams.

    If so, how much money will this save the taxpayers? Was this action included as a cost saving measure in the budget presented to the BOC? Will the students be appropriated to other schools? Where will the principal go or is she part of the RIF that is going on? Answered above.

  •  

    The Lee County Schools budget has hundreds of codes and can be found on my blog. Mr. Williams – where are these codes for the public to review? The DPI Website has the allotment manual available and the chart of accounts can be found there too.

    As we stated during the budget session we are the only elected Board that must submit a budget request without knowing the funding we will received. The questions that you asked in reference to certain line item budgets will be different now that we have a dollar amount allocated from County and the State. When we ratify the budget I will be better able to answer your question.

    Also on page 21, there is a $27,000 contracted service under Maintenance. What is that for?

    Page 33 – there is a $60,000 contracted legal services agreement for Jimmy Love. According to documents given to the BOC by the BOE, there are two other law firms Schwartz and Tharrington that have been retained as well by the school. What are Mr. Love’s responsibilities? Mr. Love is the BOE attorney, but there are times when both the BOE and the administration must be represented. It is in those cases where due to the ethics law we must have an attorney for the BOE and one for the administration. Mr. Schwartz law firm has been used to represent administration in those cases. Tharrington has been used when we have a need for a specialty attorney such as special needs education or any other specialty that may be needed.

    Same page – What is the supplement amount for the BOE $4800 for? What does the $24,000 Other professional and technical services for the board cover? As stated previously those numbers will change.

    Page 34 – There is a contracted services for external audit of $43,500. Is this a requirement? And why kind of audit is it? Yes it is a requirement, and it is a financial audit that is available to the public.

    Page 35 – Community services costs $108,235. What is this for? Don’t know what you are asking for community service cost?

    Page 39 – Warren Williams energy replacement costs of $35,000. I heard and have tried to find this out…that WW was being shut down. Does this mean no? I’m sure that would be good news to the Principal and teachers. Not closed.

    Page 49-50 – Tutors $320,000 for after school tutors. Mr. Moss said in a forum that tutors would be cut. And now with only $660,000 more added, how can we afford that much? As stated previously those numbers will change

    Page 66 – What are all the Indirect Costs I see for? These are fees that some grants allow us to place in there to cover the cost for use of buildings and other things to keep the grant in place, like water and electricity.

     
  •  

    “The reason it came up now is because during an election year, you cannot vote on a contract.” Shawn Williams, Sanford Herald, June 2011, referring to the superintendent’s recent contract extension.

    2010 was an election year. Linda Smith was reelected and Mark Akinosho and John Bonardi were elected.

    However, the board voted to change the terms of Dr. Moss’ contract not by a little bit, but a whole lot during that election year. He went from being a $40,000 line item in May 2010′s approved local funds budget to a $72,000 line item in October’s reconciled budget. That’s an 80 percent supplement increase. During an election year the Board cannot take action on the superintendents contract from the election day to the day the new members take office. Action can be taken up through the election day. I didn’t state that appropriately earlier, but it is normally not the tradition of the sitting board to do anything with a contract on an election year.

    Can you guarantee there will be no increases in Dr. Moss’ contract or any other administrative (central office as well as school-based) position when this year’s budget is finalized? The Board has not modified any compensation for administrators in this years budget.

    Why did the board feel it was the most responsible course to cut 50 teacher positions while most likely only cutting one (vacant) central office administrative position? Many positions were lost due to the loss of stimulus funding.

    Dr. Moss gave raises to central office personnel last year for two reasons: additional duties and increased experience. Since teachers are gaining experience on the state salary scale yearly (they just move the dollar figure for each step down each year) and are probably going to have additional duties due to the cuts the board approved, can they expect to see similar increases soon for those reasons? Already answered.

    It would take about $300,000 to increase teacher supplements by 1 percent (moving Lee County more in line with Moore County and Chatham County, and a tool both the board and Dr. Moss insisted are essential to keeping good teachers). Does the board have a plan to try and find that small amount of money to help keep good teachers? As local funding becomes available the board will consider teacher supplements.

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About Patrick Henry

"Give me liberty, or give me death!"
This entry was posted in Budget, Education, Lee County Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Your Turn: Chairman of BOE Answered Questions

  1. shawn says:

    My pleasure and I thank you for the opportunity to respond. Hopefully this is the beginning to dealing with issues and finding a place of reasonable discussion. Our world will be better if we all could share our convictions and find a middle ground to discuss to make things better. My way is not right all the time and neither is the other side, but it is our differences that can make what seems to be a bad situation a better situation.

  2. Patrick Henry says:

    Below are comments left by readers in other postings but are relevant to this one:

     uPSET!!! says:
    June 29, 2011 at 7:00 am (Edit)
    As a family member of one of the people who were forced to resign because of intimidation tactics used by a principle as well as our superintendent that would affect their future in education I feel the board should truly investigate what is truly going on in the central office rather than believing what they are told. I have lost all respect for our board as well as the central office. People can say anything they wish but I think I believe my family before all of this trash that is being thrown around by Dr. Moss or some of the board members. At this time there are only two members on the board that I feel have any possible interest in the students and the future of our school system (Mr.Sharpe, Mr. Akinsho) Everybody else is under the spell that Moss has cast and they think He walks on water.
    UPSET!!!

     Concerned Teacher says:
    June 29, 2011 at 7:25 am (Edit)
    I can’t see where all questions were answered. Also, I still don’t get why it is better to keep one person, Dr. Moss, instead of many, teachers and assistants, who deal directly with the day to day operations of the schools.

     citizen says:
    June 28, 2011 at 9:59 am (Edit)
    I was at a meeting where Dr. Moss stated that C.O. employees were given raises because of additional duties. I am wondering about the mismatched information.

  3. I believe the Carolina Journal article today pretty much sums up a lot of my immediate thoughts on these matters:

    http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/display_exclusive.html?id=7955.

    David Bass is pretty solid as an investigative journalist.

    Publius

  4. Sanford27330 says:

    Mr. Williams,

    You were asked “Why did the board feel it was the most responsible course to cut 50 teacher positions while most likely only cutting one (vacant) central office administrative position?”

    Your answer was ” (m)any positions were lost due to the loss of stimulus funding.”

    Would it not be just as fair to say “we chose to use state dollars and local funds to pay for administrative positions rather than teaching positions”? Taking a very quick look at the budget would show a reader that LCS pays for both teachers and administrators from different pots of money (local, state, and federal). Certainly the loss of federal stimulus dollars meant there were going to be fewer positions in Lee County Schools for the 2011-2012 school year. I don’t think anyone disputes that fact.

    I think a large part of the population would just like to hear the board say that the reason we’re going to have 50 fewer teaching positions is because of the budget cutting recommendations of the superintendent and the acceptance of them by the school board. It wasn’t the case that we HAD to lose as many teaching positions as has happened. It turned out that way because the school board majority CHOSE to make it that way.

    You certainly don’t have to be a “right wing radical” to believe there was another, better way to cut the budget. I think many “left wing radicals” and “raging moderate radicals” would like to see a school board cut as little as possible in the classroom during a budget shortfall rather than cutting as little as possible in school and central office administration.

    As an additional question, why have there been additional cuts in clerical and custodial months of employment this summer?

    Thank you so much for taking the time. I certainly appreciate your taking the time to speak up for your positions in front of what is, admittedly, an audience that disagrees with you at times.

    • Guest says:

      It seems from these responses and the choices that the BOE has made relating to the budget situation that the LC BOE with the superintendent’s input believe that the superintendent (salary and numerous supplements), the four assistant superintendents (salary and supplements), central office based positions along with the numerous clerical support positions, and the principals (salary and supplements) are more of a priority for our children’s education than the teachers, teacher assistants, counselors, media/media assistants, clerical and others that are/were based in the schools and see/saw our children on a daily basis? Is it the intent of the BOE to send this message?
      Thank you.

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