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.