ATLANTIC — With no discussion, the Carteret County Board of Education increased Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson’s salary by $15,000 during its meeting Tuesday in the auditorium of Atlantic Elementary School.
The issue of Dr. Jackson’s salary was considered under the board’s consent agenda.
While there was no board discussion prior to approving the consent agenda, Michael Fulcher of Stacy protested the raise during public comment, prior to the vote.
“Are the students of Carteret County better off now than a year ago?” he asked.
With the raise, Dr. Jackson’s annual salary increases from $160,000 to $175,000, effective Aug. 3, 2021. The funds for the increase will come from the county, according to school board attorney Neil Whitford.
“The state provides a base salary for all school superintendents in North Carolina and it is a standard practice for counties to supplement the base salary with local funds,” Mr. Whitford said in an email to the News-Times.
The school board hired Dr. Jackson in June 2020 to replace former superintendent Mat Bottoms, who retired Dec. 31, 2019. Assistant superintendent Richard Paylor served as interim until Dr. Jackson’s hire.
The board hired Dr. Jackson, then-superintendent of the Edenton-Chowan school system, under a four-year contract ending June 30, 2024.
In a letter included in the board’s Tuesday agenda packet, Mr. Whitford stated the board conducted Dr. Jackson’s annual evaluation Aug. 3 in closed session. Mr. Whitford stated the board “was of a consensus that his salary should be increased to $175,000 per year,” and the increase had to be approved in open session.
The attorney further said board members have been concerned for years the superintendent salary was “relatively low” when compared to other systems with “our level of academic achievement.”
Mr. Whitford said the increase would make the school system more competitive in attracting and retaining “the best of the best.”
He cited superintendent salary examples of neighboring Craven and Onslow counties to make his point. He stated that Craven County, in 2018, reported a superintendent salary of $191,730, and Onslow County, in 2019, reported a superintendent salary of $181,348. Both school systems are larger than Carteret.
Dr. Jackson did not comment on the raise during Tuesday’s meeting.
Other action by the board included:
- Approved resolution proclaiming October as National Principals Month.
- Heard a presentation by Dr. Jackson on a “Roadmap of Need Report for Carteret County,” based on the N.C. Public School Forum’s Roadmap of Need annual report. The forum uses data on health, youth behavior, safety, education and economic development to assess what young people need to thrive.
- Approved second and first readings of several policy revisions recommended by the N.C. School Boards Association. The policy revisions reflect changes in federal and state laws, as well as mandates from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
- Received updates on capital and bond projects.
Under the consent agenda, the board approved:
- Continuing the mask mandate for students and staff, which stipulates masks will become optional once the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate consistently remains 5%.
- Fundraiser requests.
- Student transfers.
- School advisory council recommendations.
- A contract with Maxim Healthcare Staff Services Inc. for student support staff. Maxim charges $55 per hour for licensed counselors and social workers, $85 per hour for school psychologists and $58 per hour for mental health therapists.
- Changing the middle school History Quiz Bowl supplement to a National Junior Honor Society/Beta adviser supplement. The middle school History Quiz Bowl supplement has not been used in a few years. The supplement amounts, which increases gradually, remain the same.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.