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School board votes to extend Roberson's work hours

Superintendent gets 8-week trial period

Thursday, May 3, 2012 6:45 PM
Last updated Friday, May 4, 2012 3:08 AM
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Richmond County School Superintendent Frank Roberson will begin working four hours a day on an eight-week trial period while doctors continue to determine if he will be able to return to lead the district full time.

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Superintendent Frank Roberson smiles after a motion was approved allowing him to return to work 4 hours a day for the next 8 weeks during  a called school board meeting Thursday evening.    ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Superintendent Frank Roberson smiles after a motion was approved allowing him to return to work 4 hours a day for the next 8 weeks during a called school board meeting Thursday evening.

Roberson’s physicians noted he still has deficiencies in certain areas but has made steady progress in his recovery from a brain condition that surfaced last year, Richmond County Board of Education attorney Pete Fletcher said Thursday.

The board voted 6-3 to allow Roberson to work during a trial period, with Jimmy Atkins, Helen Minchew and Board President Alex Howard in dissent and Jack Padgett absent.

Howard said 14 months without a superintendent has prevented the school system from moving forward. While the top administrators are capable and talented, the district is lacking a permanent leader with set vision and direction.

“I think Dr. Roberson is an incredible man and he’s been through a lot, but I feel it’s time for us to move forward,” Howard said.

Roberson underwent emergency surgery for an arteriovenous malformation, or abnormal clustering of blood vessels on the brain, in February 2011. He returned to work no more than six hours per week in December, but Deputy Superintendent James Whitson has acted in Roberson’s place for more than 14 months.

Whitson is set to retire June 30, which would leave the top two positions vacant if Roberson is not able to return full time.

Roberson will now work with the executive cabinet to prepare the 2012-13 budget and address all other issues. The board will also begin the process of locating a deputy superintendent to replace Whitson.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to move the system forward and to get back there among the students and the teachers and the principals,” Roberson said.

“That is the best medicine a sick person can receive,” he added.

Richmond County Council of PTAs President Monique Braswell said the school system should be patient in allowing Roberson’s gradual return to work.

When Roberson was hired in August 2010, he announced aggressive plans to boost student achievement, increase the graduation rate and expand magnet programs in the district.

Given the challenges with Richmond County test scores, which lags behind state averages, and a low graduation rate, she said her organization of 10,788 members believes Roberson is one of few people who can turn the district around.

“It’s going to bring him back for what we know they brought him here to do,” Braswell said. “Dr. Roberson is an honorable man, and if he knows he’s not back at full potential, he’ll do what’s best for our school system.”

The board’s vote Thursday included a clause that allows Fletcher to keep track of media advertising costs and deadlines in case the board must begin a search for a new superintendent at the end of Roberson’s trial period.

Howard said he would have rather begun a search Thursday to be able to have a consistent superintendent in place for when the 2012-13 school year begins in August.

“This is going into 15 months, and I think we’ve had enough time to make an assessment,” he said.

Comments (15) Add comment
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showboat
336
Points
showboat 05/03/12 - 07:17 pm
0
0
work four hours a day for the
Unpublished

work four hours a day for the money he get and want to cut teachers. what a big joke, Dr. Roberson is a great guy but it time for this school system to move forward without hime.

showboat
336
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showboat 05/03/12 - 07:24 pm
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Dr. Roberson is a great guy,
Unpublished

Dr. Roberson is a great guy, but it is time for this school system to move forward without him. To work four hours a day with the money he is being paid isn't a great move by the BOE and want to cut some teachers.

curly123053
4671
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curly123053 05/03/12 - 09:19 pm
0
0
Good luck Mr Roberson. I hope

Good luck Mr Roberson. I hope and pray this works out for you.

ironpurps
183
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ironpurps 05/03/12 - 10:31 pm
1
0
Yes, Dr. Roberson is a good,

Yes, Dr. Roberson is a good, honorable, and talented man. However, I agree with Mr. Howard. If this were the corporate world, a replacement would have been done quickly if the product suffered. RCBOE must find a new superintendent to lead this county out of the mire it is in. Talent at the top? If things are as bad as noted in this article, how does that wash?

noamsain
50
Points
noamsain 05/03/12 - 10:56 pm
3
0
Dr. Roberson, do the right

Dr. Roberson, do the right thing and announce your retirement....our children and adults are suffering over lack of leadership. What a spineless board. They should have told him to either accept a nice severance package and go get well, or they would have no choice but to terminate....but what do you expect out of people like our board who have NO CLUE about what is best for our kids.....don't bother them, they are trying to get ready for a fish fry!

raul
4868
Points
raul 05/03/12 - 10:59 pm
2
0
Well, since they voted for a

Well, since they voted for a 2 month trial period, they should not continue it beyond that time period if he is not up and running and capable of working a 40 hour week.

RoadkiII
6596
Points
RoadkiII 05/04/12 - 04:30 am
1
0
Then his pay should be cut to

Then his pay should be cut to reflect a 4 hour work day. Before you beat me up for saying that I do have compassion for the sick. I am an arthritis sufferer and am in some pain almost daily. If I only worked half a day it might not be as bad. So, who is gonna pay me a 40 hour a week salary and only expect me 20 hours???

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 05/04/12 - 06:00 am
1
0
May I exhort all RC

May I exhort all RC schooltax-payers and all RCSS employees who are truly concerned with the children to pray for Dr. Roberson's swift return to full-time service.

Ms. Braswell, RCCPTA president, is correct: Dr. Roberson is a honorable man. He is also a most able one who, though a long-time educational administrator, has not succumbed to the malevolent influences of the self-serving educrats who are employed in large numbers in local school systems.

DawgnSC69
271
Points
DawgnSC69 05/04/12 - 06:32 am
1
1
All I have to say. Thank God

All I have to say.
Thank God in heaven my children aren't in the Richmond Co. School system. What a joke...

palmetto1008
9782
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palmetto1008 05/04/12 - 07:49 am
2
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Compassion is essential
Unpublished

Compassion is essential component of humanity. But so is rational decision-making.

Little Lamb
46017
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Little Lamb 05/04/12 - 08:30 am
0
2
It's only our money.

It's only our money. Roberson needs it more than we do.

gaflyboy
4812
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gaflyboy 05/04/12 - 08:49 am
1
0
What happened to Mr. Roberson

What happened to Mr. Roberson is terrible and I empathize with him and his family. That said, it’s been the better part of two school years and he’s still not able to perform his duties. Eight weeks of four hours days will prove that he’s capable of four hour days; nothing more. The board members that agreed to this are quite sympathetic and generous with our money. Who are they looking out for?

People are hired, not because they need a job, but because there is a job to do.

I wish Mr. Roberson a full recovery!

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 05/04/12 - 12:18 pm
0
1
I was there, How many parents

I was there, How many parents really came out to see what was going on. People here are so quick to make comment, but coming to see whats going on you leave it to a lazy school board. I feel what RCBOE board is really want to do a back door and make Deputy James Whitson, Superintendent of Richmond County. If everyone was all really working for our children future then the goals Dr. Roberson had set in place they would have made sure it happen. Yet they did nothing to make our children future keep going on the right path.If our principals and school staff didn't step up to make it happen the board surely didn't. Have anyone seen any board member or Inter Superintendent visit any school. Well when parents don't come out, I guess why should RCBOE members.
At the begain of the school year when parents was so upset about the bus problem the board members stated that they would creat a board with parents and teachers so they could get other input. The board to me are not really looking out for our kids and Dr. Roberson was making people work.
When you got employee who come in for 40 hours and we might get 5 hours of work.When they are visiting family or even at the mall in the middle of day shopping. Here a man who is coming 4 hours everyday and we are going to get more then that from him.
The so call Iner Superintendent James Whitson never came to visit one school or anyone else from the board. In order for you to really know what our kids, teachers and just school need you must leave your office. Come see, visit the school, talk to our kids, and find out. Everyone can't put there children in private school. But we all pay taxes, some more then others. I feel Dr. Roberson care about kids and not all about the money. Don't you want someone that will do right, his track record showed that. Can our other board member say that.

Sweet son
10398
Points
Sweet son 05/04/12 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Only delaying the inevitable!

Only delaying the inevitable! Commented last article that the board would not do anything and they basically didn't. Is there a magic number where Roberson would take a financial windfall when he finally leaves?

dichotomy
32922
Points
dichotomy 05/04/12 - 12:24 pm
2
0
Oh don't worry. They will

Oh don't worry. They will hire a white Deputy Superintendent who will do his job and Roberson's job for 2/3s the money.

What the BOE don't realize is that we want a full time, working superintendent for our full time salary. We have not have had that for over a year. Not sure we had one then. He hadn't been here long enough to tell. I don't care if they bring him in and prop him up in the office for 4 hours a day he is still not "working". If I wanted to donate to a charity I would follow our commissioner's lead and write a check out to one of our local crooked bogus HUD grant organizations. Or maybe just skip the middlemen and send one directly to Paul to fix his HVAC system.

You can bet your bippy that if Roberson had been white he would have already been put on disability and we would have a new black superintendent. Don't roll your eyes. You know it's true.

showboat
336
Points
showboat 05/04/12 - 12:50 pm
0
0
If we had a teacher that was
Unpublished

If we had a teacher that was ill, would the BOE vote to let that person work for (4) hours per day with full pay? My answer would be no!!!

Little Lamb
46017
Points
Little Lamb 05/04/12 - 01:09 pm
1
1
Does anybody know whether

Does anybody know whether Roberson requires a chauffeur in his current condition?

allhans
23645
Points
allhans 05/04/12 - 01:50 pm
0
0
Is his problem physical? I

Is his problem physical? I have never heard what type of disability he is suffering from. I did see that he had had a brain injury.

Orin Witmore
1
Points
Orin Witmore 05/05/12 - 03:53 am
1
0
I have been praying and will

I have been praying and will continue to pray that Dr. Roberson has a full and speedy recovery. Everyone should understand that what is about to be said is in the best interests of the students in the Richmond County School System and the taxpayers of Richmond County: Dr. Roberson should do what is best for both groups and resign. The school system needs a clear thinking, full-time superintendent to lead us into the future. As a fellow Christian brother, I would think that Dr. Roberson would understand that it is time to do what is right and put the needs of the community in front of his personal needs.

Having said that, I think it is time we as citizens help move the school system into the future by voting in term limits for our board members. Some of our board members have been on the board far too long and make too many decisions that are self-serving and not what is best for the community. Imposing term limits would prevent one person or a small group from wielding too much power and would help to end the system of nepotism and cronyism that is rampant in the Richmond County School System. Our children deserve better. Our citizens deserve better.

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