Board votes to give $8,000 bonus to Carroll principal

Davis was originally promised $20,000 to transfer from Wossman High School to Carroll, but the board cut the amount to $8,000, leaving Davis $12,000 short

When Carroll High School principal Eric Davis transferred from Wossman High School, he did so after he was reportedly made “an offer he couldn’t refuse” a $20,000 bonus.

At the school board’s November 7th meeting, the promised amount was reduced to $8,000 after a lengthy debate by school board members, leaving the superintendent to scramble to find a way to make good on his reported promise to Davis.

When the $20,000 bonus was reported to the board last month, Superintendent Brent Vidrine told the board that it was a reward for Davis’ being named principal of the year last year; it was not a transfer bonus.

Davis was credited with changing Wossman’s letter grade from “D” to “B” in one year while maintaining a “D” assessment score for Wossman. This year, the state recognized Wossman with a letter grade of “A.” It’s school’s academic assessments dropped from “D” to “F.”

Davis reportedly told friends that Vidrine approached him four times to change from Wossman to Carroll High School, and he refused each offer until “he gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Instead of presenting the $20,000 to the board as a transfer bonus, Vidrine told the board it would be a reward this year for Davis’ 2018 State teacher of the year.

That idea was attacked by Board member B.J. Johnson who said if Davis was promised a bonus to transfer, he should get what he was promised. Still, he thought it was not fair to other outstanding principals to call the bonus a reward for being named state principal of the year.

Last month the item was sent to the policy committee so that the board could adopt a policy and an amount that would apply to all principals and educators.

Board member Betty Cooper wanted the board to offer awards to all principals and teachers whether they won state recognition or not, but at an amount considerably smaller for each.

Tuesday’s action was reported out of the Policy and Finance Committees. Jennifer Haneline, head of the policy committee, said her committee considered input from the public and decided to recommend $8,000 for persons who received the state principal or teacher of the year recognition because of the amount of paperwork and preparation required to apply for the honor.

Sharon Neal-Greer, head of the finance committee, said her committee decided to approve the $8,000 figure with the amount charged to the general fund.

In answer to a question by Board Member Rick Saulsberry, Superintendent Brent Vidrine said should there be a state teacher and principal in the same year, they would both get the $8,000.

The action was approved as a resolution, not a board policy, and will apply in the future only if funds are available.

Cooper voted against the action. Cooper thinks public funds should not be used for bonuses unless all others are rewarded as well. Even then, Cooper maintains that businesses, alumni, and sponsors should be encouraged to generate bonuses rather than tapping the district general fund.
Board member Daryl Berry was absent.