The majority of the Carroll County Schools’ Board of Education has voted in favor of offering long-time Superintendent Scott Cowart a new one-year contract beginning June 1, 2022 to remain in that position.
However—this is a Board divided, with three of the seven board members voting against bringing Cowart back under the terms presented.
“I voted NO on the superintendent’s contract mainly because I can no longer support his direction and leadership of the Human Resource practices within the Carroll County School System,” District-6 BOE member Bart Cater told WLBB Radio. “An example of these practices includes offering positions with promotions to people without ever advertising the open positions. I consider this to be unfair, at the least, to other qualified candidates.”
Cater is the longest serving Carroll County Schools Board member, having been on the board since January of 2001.
“It is really a two pronged issue. By law, the superintendent is responsible for recommending personnel actions to the Board of Education. Also, by law, it is the Board of Education’s responsibility to approve or reject those recommendations,” Cater said. “Lastly, ever since the superintendent went to a 1 year contract, he agreed with the board that HE would inform the board 5-6 months before the end of his contract as to his intentions to retire or ask for another 1 year extension. The 5-6 months notice would allow the board ample time to find a new superintendent if he retired. This year he notified the board 12 days before the end of his current contract.”
Board member Dr. Bernice Brooks said she echoes the sentiment of her fellow Board Member. However, she said her vote was “no” for these reasons:
1. A lack of transparency/trust on pertinent matters. All Board Members are not given the same correct/factual information.
2. A lack of “diversity” among school settings. In this 21st Century people of color are still being denied employment. A former VRHS Graduate teaching in another county, highly qualified, decided to return home for family reasons, was denied a position in her field of certification.
3. A lack of “Equity.” The voters of this county passed a referendum denoting their desire to support “Community Schools.” On that note, all schools small or large should be given adequate staff to facilitate “24 Strong.” That is not the case with this leadership.
4. A lack of following policy when it comes to hiring. Hiring practices are based on preferential treatment. Several have been hired without utilizing the Interview Process and have been placed in positions that they are not experienced or qualified to handle.
5. Coaches being hired and relaying to persons of the community that they don’t report to anyone but the Superintendent and not the principals of their prospective schools.
Along with Cater and Brooks, Donald Nixon is the third vote against renewing Cowart’s contract, at this time.
Cater said that he does hope the board can be together in approving the Superintendent’s position in the future.
“Since a majority of the school board approved the superintendent’s contract extension, it is my hope the current Chairman of the Board will help bring this board back to an unanimous support of the superintendent,” he said. “Both sides, superintendent and the board, have work to do if they are willing to admit it.”
Cowart has worked as Carroll County Schools’ Superintendent since 2010. He was recognized as Georgia Superintendent of the year by GSBA in 2015.