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Time ticks for decision on superintendent’s contract

Halifax County School Board members must soon decide whether or not to renew Superintendent Paul Stapleton’s contract.

Stapleton’s contract comes up for renewal in June 2012, but board members must let him know their intentions by next month.

Board members said this week they expect to soon begin meeting to discuss what to do about the superintendent’s contract.
Stapleton said this week he has no idea what the board intends on doing with his contract, but he added, “Everything the board has asked me to do, we have accomplished.”

Stapleton’s current contract includes an annual salary of $157,000, which he says “has stood for several years.”

Also as part of his contract, the school superintendent gets 45 days per year in vacation time, but he said only if he is lucky does he take about five days for “family time” and a few scattered days throughout the year for personal reasons.

“I spend most of my time in Halifax County,” the superintendent added.

As another perk, Stapleton also receives a $2,000 car allowance each month.

Stapleton has served as county school superintendent for the past seven years, and he said he is very proud of numerous achievements he and the school system have accomplished.

During his tenure as superintendent, he points to new facilities that have been built, and old ones that have been improved.

“We have created good opportunities for current and future students,” he said.

Also he credits several fundraising opportunities through grants and corporations that have been achieved since he became superintendent.

“I think we have done a good job laying the foundation. Since I have been here, we have created the education foundation which has helped to raise money for the school system.

“I’ve always been big on business partnerships and finding career paths for students,” he added.

Over the past seven years he has been instrumental in the creation of the academies which have created smaller learning environments that he believes have been very successful.

Another element to this project was the creation of the STEM Center.

“I’m proud of the STEM Academy,” the superintendent said.

Stapleton also points to the creation of the dual-enrollment program that he said has been a positive for the community.

“To me the development of dual-enrollment is a great benefit to students, as well as parents,” he said, noting 91 percent of seniors this year will gradate with college transcripts.

He also pointed out 84 percent of black males will have college transcripts.

“I’m very proud of dual-enrollment, and how it has served our rural students,” he said.

He also takes pride in the county teachers and administrators throughout the school system.

“We have an amazing staff including bus drivers and secretaries,” said Stapleton.

Some school board members said they have formed their opinions on whether or not to renew Stapleton’s contract.

ED-6 representative Fay Satterfield said, “It’s time for new leadership. I would like to see more emphasis on vocational and agricultural classes.”

School board representative ED-4 Joe Gasperini said, “I wouldn’t renew his contract. I think he has been here long enough.”
However, Gasperini said, “We have school board members up for reelection, and the decision should include new board members. I think the timing is off.”

ED-5 representative Dr. Roger Long said, “I don’t really know what I intend to do at this point. I want to discuss this with other board members. I admire much of the work he has done.”

Other board members would not say either way what they intended to do concerning renewal of the contract.

School board trustee ED-3 Kim Farson said, “I’m going to rely heavily on how I am directed by my constituents. I want to hear more from the people and bring all the pros and cons to the table.”

Farson urged her constituents to call, email or write her adding, “Let your voices be heard.”

ED-8 trustee Walter Potts said he would discuss the matter with other board members.

School Board Chairman Stuart Comer said the board would be meeting soon to discuss the contract, and trustees Devin Snead and Karen Hopkins could not be reached for comment.