Rock Hill School Board deadlocks on key issues

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 29, 2005

With one board member hospitalized and the other four paired at polar ends of some issues, the Rock Hill school board meeting Tuesday became contentious at times.

The board was split 2-2 on whether to hire an acting principal for the high school and whether to pay a legal bill.

With board member Wanda Jenkins still in the hospital, a resolution to hire retired educator Dennis "Dennie" Hankins as acting principal failed to get enough votes for approval.

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The matter drew fire from two board members who said that would rather take personnel from one of the district's other schools to fill the gap left when Lambert stepped in as acting superintendent. Hankins is a former assistant principal at the high school.

"We can't throw away another $6,000 a month when we have people who could do the job," board member Troy Hardy said.

Board member Jackie Harris pointed out that Hankins only has a temporary administrator's certificate.

But those in favor of hiring Hankins contended it is unfair to take an administrator from another building at a time when the district is struggling to improve. With Lambert at the board office, the district needs the extra help at the high school, he said.

Lambert said that while it is true Hankins is retired and has only a temporary certificate at this time, he had spoken to Lawrence County School Superintendent Harold Shafer before

broaching the matter with the board.

"We need someone," Lambert said. "We need to keep things going, we need to work on test scores and have the right environment for the kids. Mr. Hankins has experience being a high school principal. I think we need him."

Board president Lavetta Sites ended the regular meeting by calling a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday

to again address that issue and the payment of $38,287.36. to the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, which is defending the board against a lawsuit brought on by former superintendent Lloyd Evans, who has sued the district to get his job back.

With Harris and Hardy voting no and Sites and Paul R. Johnson voting yes, the bill was left unpaid.

Harris and Hardy contend they have not seen a complete itemized statement of what the law firm is actually doing for the district.

The other board members contend the bill is for services rendered and the board has an obligation to pay it.