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Caroline School Board declines to extend superintendent's contract past 2014
BY PORTSIA SMITH
The Caroline County School Board has voted not to renew Superintendent Greg Killough's contract for another two years.
The decision came as a surprise to Killough, who was away on vacation during the vote.
Killough, who has served as Caroline's top school leader since leaving the same position in Wise County in 2008, said he doesn't know why the vote came up and never heard from the board that they were dissatisfied with his job performance.
"I'm at a loss here," he said in a phone message left this week in response to a request for comment. He could not be reached for additional comment.
The board voted 4-2 during a special meeting this week not to renew Killough's contract through 2016. His contract will expire on June 30, 2014, unless the board revisits it at a later date.
"We, the majority of the board, would like to go in a different direction and feel that changes need to be made," said Board Vice Chairman George Spaulding, who moved to not renew the contract at Monday's meeting.
Board members Shawn Kelley and Mack Wright voted to keep Killough in the top spot.
"Killough and his staff have accomplished a great deal despite budget cuts and a tremendous slowdown in the economy," Kelley said. "The road hasn't always been an easy one to travel, but necessary changes have been made."
Wright said improvements in academic scores, accreditation and student behavior speak volumes for the superintendent's leadership.
"I believe that everyone should remember why they are here--to do the best for the education of the children of Caroline," Wright said.
Board Chairwoman Nancy Carson agreed that strides have been made toward academic excellence and becoming more competitive with the surrounding school systems, but said, "This has been accomplished through hard work and dedication of all employees."
Board member Mary Anderson said she didn't feel comfortable voting in favor of a contract that most board members had never seen, despite many requests to review a copy.
She said the board was told there is a clause that would have automatically renewed the agreement for two more years unless the board voted otherwise by June 30.
"Everything would have been much easier if we had simply been able to read the contract and not have to depend on word of mouth," she said.
Five of the six board members were newly elected in January. Wright is the only member on the board from the previous term.
Kelley, who supports Killough, said it is possible that the other board members didn't want to make a two-year commitment to someone they've worked with for only six months. They can revisit the issue over the next two years.
"Ask anybody who works in the system or has children attending one of our schools and they will tell you that we are far better off now than we were four years ago," he said. "Needless to say, I like where we are headed and I hope to keep on this path."
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419