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UPDATE: Raises rescinded for two central office employees

Friday morning update: At the Halifax County School Board special called meeting Friday morning, the vote to give raises to two central office employees was rescinded.

In addition, both workers, Frosty Owens and Valdivia Marshall, gave letters to the board saying they couldn't accept the raise because of budget challenges.

Original story:

Was the decision to give two Central Office staff members made in haste Monday night?

That’s the question up for discussion this morning when Halifax County School Board members hold a special called closed-door meeting to discuss personnel in the school board office conference room at the Mary Bethune office complex.

According to several school board members, the meeting has been called to further discuss the decision made following Monday night’s regular scheduled meeting to give substantial raises to two central office staff members.

Also slated for discussion and possible action, according to ED-8 trustee Walter Potts, is revisiting the approved organizational chart.

Marshall was named assistant superintendent following approval of a new organizational chart Monday and will receive $5,000 in additional pay from federal funds.

 Supervisor for Secondary Education Frosty Owens also will receive $10,000 in extra pay for taking on the additional duties of student services. 

Director of Student Services was a position previously filled by Beverly Crowder who will retire effective July 1.

Following Monday’s meeting, ED-4 trustee Cheryl Terry said she found that information Herndon presented during the meeting was for numerous reasons “not truly the case,” so Terry made every effort to have the special called meeting this morning to rescind her vote.

“I want to fix this as soon as possible,” said Terry.

According to ED-7 trustee R. K. “Dick” Stoneman, he voted for the pay increase for Owens purely because it was “a matter of economics.” 

Stoneman said Owens was one of the lowest paid supervisors at central office, and he would be taking on the duties of student services along with his previous duties of secondary education and accountability.

“We’re saving the taxpayers $100,000 (by eliminating the students services position), and if we can save money, it is our obligation to do so,” said Stoneman.

The position, created by Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon last July and currently held by Crowder, will not be filled after Crowder retires.

ED-6 trustee Fay Satterfield, ED-2 trustee Karen Hopkins and Potts opposed the vote Monday night to adjust salaries of Marshall and Owens.

“I said all along it’s not anything personal, but it’s not the right time to raise salaries in central office,” said Satterfield.

Hopkins expressed similar feelings.  

“It’s not up to us to take money away and then come back and give money to others. It’s not fair, point blank. In my heart, it’s just not fair,” she said.