The Bullock County Board of Education voted by a 3-2 majority vote Thursday to award Dr. Christopher Blair a new three-year contract.
Board President Dr. Orlando Johnson and Board Member LaDerrick Caldwell did not vote in favor of the contract offer.
When discussing the contract, Board Member Caldwell explained that the board had to give notice to Dr. Blair last December (2019) if it did not intend to renew or offer him another contract.
When that did not happen, his current contract extended for a year, and as of July 1, 2020, the new expiration date was June 30, 2021. He further explained that during his eight-year tenure on the board, it has never offered the superintendent a new contract while the current contract was still enforceable.
Both Caldwell and Johnson asked if the board wished to offer the superintendent a new contract, at the time only to act on the offer and to follow up with a work session with the board’s attorney to work through the contract.
Vice President Gary Coleman made a motion. Board Member Meeks seconded it to offer the superintendent a new three-year contract under the same terms as his current contract but to remove the language requiring Dr. Blair to provided written notification to the board of his upcoming evaluation.
This is the same provision Dr. Blair previously failed to satisfy, which led to a discussion between him and President Johnson that resulted in an alleged extortion complaint filed by President Johnson.
As the current Board President, Dr. Johnson expressed that he was the spokesperson for the board, and as always, he desired to be transparent as possible concerning matters that concern stakeholders.
He stated that he did not place the superintendent’s contract on the meeting’s agenda. “Aware of the fact that we had entered into the one-year extension from Dr. Blair’s current contract, I didn’t feel the need to bring this matter before the board. We are currently in the middle of a pandemic, and our attention should be focused on how we are going to educate and keep our students and employees safe this upcoming school term. Dr. Blair’s job security wasn’t a pressing issue at the moment.”
The board president and the superintendent are to work collaboratively to set the agenda; however, Johnson says that Dr. Blair did not collaborate with him concerning setting the agenda. He placed his contract on the agenda and then published the agenda.
He further explained that his vote was solely based on Dr. Blair’s evaluation results and the district’s future. “According to the evaluation instrument provided and conducted by the Alabama Association of School Boards, Dr. Blair’s evaluation results did not meet expectations.
He scored a 2 on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. The evaluation also provided alarming feedback from employees that work directly with the superintendent. By offering a contract after being knowledgeable about this information causes me to question the message we are trying to send to our employees and student.
Is it ok for teachers not to perform in the classroom and meet their job expectations but continue to be paid with the citizen’s tax dollars or even be named “Teacher of the Year”? Is it ok for our students not to perform academically but still be promoted? Is it ok for our students to misbehave but still be rewarded and recognized for good conduct?
Nonetheless, I honor the majority’s decision, and I will continue to work with the superintendent. I will continue my efforts to do what is best for our district.”
Dr. Blair’s new three-year contract offers him no additional benefits, and his salary will remain the same at $135,200.