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© 2019 by Lumberton Ledger

Kountze ISD special meeting contentious but civil

August 6, 2019


Kountze ISD special meeting contentious but civil

​Conducted primarily in executive session, the Monday, Aug. 5, Kountze ISD special meeting lasted just shy of four hours long.
​Capacity crowds packed the Intermediate School library pouring out the doors and into the hallway.
​On the agenda, the discussion of the high school principal’s termination, the possible termination of Superintendent J. Ferguson’s contract, teacher pay scales, and the proposed budget.
​The decision to fire Principal Dr. Chet Deaver has rocked the Kountze campuses as a dozen teachers have either quit or threatened to do so in recent weeks.
​First, the board voted to change leadership, replacing Steve Eppes with Don McDonald as Board President.
​In stepping down, Eppes quoted his late mother saying “water seeks its own level,” defending his integrity to a round of applause.
​McDonald closed the open portion of the meeting going into executive session to consider possible action to rescind Deaver’s termination of July 11.
​After two hours they returned to take a No Action on the item.
​In a vote of 5:2, Deaver’s termination was finalized, followed by remarks of “What a shame,” and “That’s pathetic,” from the assembled crowd.
​The board then went back in executive session to consider matters of personnel hiring and resignation.
​Deaver’s supporters (some in tears) gathered in the hallway consoling him as they filed from the building.
​More than one person uttered concern for the lack of transparency in the manner of the proceedings.
​Stunned high school students expressed concern over the teachers quitting, which could jeopardize their graduating credits.
​Back in regular session, the board recommended hiring Jamie Harper as high school principal along with three other teachers.
​The board also approved the resignations of eight teachers.
​With that, the board went back into executive session to consider termination of Superintendent John Ferguson’s contract.
​Returning after an hour, the board decided to postpone action on the superintendent’s termination.
​In terms of teacher pay scales, Kountze teachers salaries will “begin at $38,000 with a $500 incremental gain up to $60,000 for a 30-year teacher,” Ferguson said. Motion passed unanimously.
​The board approved an expenditure of $150,894 for the football field improvements in a separate budget amendment.
​The regular Kountze ISD Board meeting will discuss the adoption of the FY2019-2020 Budget among other items on Aug. 12. 

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