BOE to decide on superintendent’s contract extension Sept. 14 after special-called meeting today

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

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Escambia County Schools Superintendent Michele McClung will have to wait until Sept. 14 to find out if her contract will be renewed.

In a special called meeting of the Escambia County School Board Wednesday morning, the board heard from Attorney Kirk Garret concerning the recent evaluation process McClung had undergone.

“All seven members (of the board) responded and we have prepared a summary of those evaluations,” Garrett said. “In all 11 categories, she did receive a satisfactory rating overall based on the scoring.”

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After results of the evaluation were presented, Board President Danny Benjamin directed the board to move on to the next steps in the process.

In response, Board Member Coleman Wallace made a motion to proceed with the contract renewal question at hand.

“I make a motion to renew the contract to extend it to June 30, 2027,” Wallace said. “And, to negotiate any changes to that contract that may be needed.”

When put to the board to consider a vote, several members declined on the voting process.

When calling for a vote on whether to proceed with contract renewal, four members voted no with three voting yes. Those agreeing to move forward were Wallace, Mike Edwards and Benjamin. Those choosing to postpone the vote to renew were Cindy Jackson, Loumeek White, Sherry Digmon and Kevin Hoomes.

“It is wise to table and vote on Sept. 14,” Benjamin said. “But we don’t need to wait much longer. It would not be fair to this board or Ms. McClung to hold her in limbo. We all know what is at stake. Do we know how many counties want what we have? It is important that we do the right thing for the children of Escambia County.”

Wallace, who approved moving forward with a vote Wednesday, explained his opinion on the importance of the vote.

“It would be a monumental mistake not to renew this contract,” Wallace said. “We will interrupt the progress we’ve made with students advances so far I’ve been in education since 1971. This is not an emotional statement but an adult statement.”

Edwards, who voted to move forward with the vote on contract renewal, indicated that there were members who may have personal issues with McClung and the renewal of her contract.

“I see some personal agendas this morning,” Edwards said. “You could see it on faces when we walked in.”

Hoomes said he felt “lost in the shuffle” of how the proceedings were being handled.

“We’re not pressuring anyone to vote,” Benjamin said.

“That’s what it feels like,” Hoomes responded.

Attorney Broox Garrett reminded the board of the issues faced previously when trying to fill the position McClung currently holds.

“Decisions in the education field are filled by March or April from a procedural standpoint,” Broox Garrett said. “I suggest to not wait and delay (contract renewal) until after the first of the year.”

Benjamin ended the meeting saying that the board would reconvene on Sept. 14 to consider extending McClung’s contract.

McClung is completing her second year as superintendent with her contract set to expire or be renewed by May 2024.