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Tip of the iceberg / July 05, 2013

Dear Viewpoint:

I am sure I am only touching the tip of the iceberg but I would like to inform the taxpayers of Halifax County just what has been taking place with the Halifax County School Board, the superintendent and her administrators.

Approximately a month ago, some of the trustees on the School Board, the superintendent and school administrators wanted to close Cluster Springs Early Learning Center and bus the small Pre-K children to three different county schools. However, thanks to Rev. Frank Coleman, the NAACP and the concerned citizens, that filled the board room, with standing room only, they voted to keep this school open.

This is the kicker: This past week the 12 month secretary at South Boston Early Learning Center and the 12 month secretary at Cluster Springs Early Learning Center received contracts for only 10 months 15 days (cutting them 45 days). Also, their salaries were cut unconscionably. In other words they were robbed of all raises they had received during their years of tenure in this school system, and they have received no increase in pay for approximately 6 years. Now, on top of everything else, they were informed they would not get a pay check for the month of July at all. How are people that have to live from pay check to pay check going to pay their monthly bills? These trustees and superintendent are expecting these two secretaries to do 12 months of work in 10 months 15 days. These secretaries are being cheated out of 45 days of pay. Yes, I said cheated. Why is the coordinator of these two schools not given the title of principal since titles in the central office have been changed? Guess they don’t want to pay her either. These two secretaries’ contracts should be rescinded immediately. This is a travesty and it is going to have a detrimental effect on these secretaries as well as the coordinator and these two schools. Apparently this administration and some trustees have no remorse about the hardship some of these underpaid employees are going to face in the coming months, nor do they care. My next question is are some of the trustees and this administration being vindictive because Cluster Springs Early Learning Center wasn’t closed?

According to the newspapers, many administrators at the central office as well as 5 secretaries (making from $38,000/$40,000 plus) were all given raises. Maybe the trustees should cut the entire staff in the central office to 10 months 15 days and of course not pay them for the month of July. It seems the central office is being fed pretty good at the pig trough while some of the others are being fed slops.

Why were all principals (who were cut to 10 months 15 days) reinstated back to 12 months and these secretaries weren’t? What happened to the money of those employees that were forced out of their jobs and how about the extra $110,000 given to the school system by the Board of Supervisors. It seems some of the trustees want to give most of the money to the central office staff. As I have said before, these cuts should have started at the top with the superintendent on down. No raises for anyone. My next question is why does every other school in Halifax County have at least one full time 12 month secretary while the Coordinator of the two Early Learning Centers is being forced to go the entire summer without her secretaries? These secretaries have just as much work to do as the other secretaries and should be given a 12 month contract.

Why did the trustees on this school board allow the superintendent free reign in this school system? She came in “fast and furious” with a hatchet, and played havoc with its employees, the school system and the morale in a despicable way. Who is the boss here? Everyone knows money is tight but everyone should be treated fairly. This whole scenario reminds me of the “IRS scandal.”

Paul Stapleton and Larry Clark, to my knowledge, never cut employees’ salaries nor treated their veteran employees shabbily even if they were moved.

I would like for the local newspapers to request a list of all salaries, in the school system, before and after, all of these changes were made, and print them in the newspaper, as they have done before. Hopefully, we can then find out what went on behind closed doors. After all, they are public servants and we are entitled to this information. I expect it will be an eye opener. We, the taxpayers don’t have stupid written across our foreheads.

Taxpayers beware: After what has taken place this year, what schools and employees will get the hatchet next year. I think it is time for some of these trustees to be voted out.

Nancy M. Ramsey
South Boston

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