Superintendent’s contract in doubt

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2007

WINDSOR – What is the current status of the employment contract agreed upon by Bertie County Public Schools and

Superintendent Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart?

That’s a question currently without a definitive answer.

Yesterday (Wednesday), the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald learned through several sources that the Bertie School Board had discussed an issue calling for the Superintendent’s resignation, but had yet to reach a majority decision.

It is known that the Bertie County Board of Education had scheduled a Special Meeting for 6 p.m. today (Thursday) at the Central Office to discuss personnel matters. However, the News-Herald learned late Wednesday afternoon that the meeting had been canceled.

According to a Wednesday press release from Bertie Schools spokesperson Brent Todd, the board has instead scheduled a work session at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 16 at the office of the board attorneys (Tharrington Smith, LLP) in Raleigh to discuss personnel issues.

“All discussions will occur in closed session (at the Jan. 16 meeting),” Todd said in the press release. “The board will take no action at this meeting.”

Todd added that the Bertie County Board of Education is aware there have been recent discussions in the community regarding the status of superintendent’s contract.

“The board wants to clarify that it has taken no official action regarding her employment status,” Todd stated.

Dr. Collins-Hart, a native of Charlotte, was hired as Superintendent of Bertie County Public Schools on June 22, 2005. She came in during a turbulent period within Bertie Schools where student achievement was low, there was an ongoing desegregation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the system’s educational administrators were under fire for questionable financial practices.

Her original contract is good for four years (set to expire on June 30, 2009) at an annual salary of $122,500 plus reasonable job-related expenses. That contract also allowed for an early termination, stipulating that the board pay Dr. Collins-Hart for one year if the contract was voided prior to its expiration.

At the end of the 2005-06 school year, the Bertie Board of Education awarded Dr. Collins-Hart a $6,000 performance bonus. That bonus, based on reaching certain goals and objectives mutually established by the board and the superintendent, was outlined in the original contract.