ELIZABETHTON — By a 3-2 vote, the Elizabethton City School board decided Thursday night to give Superintendent Ed Alexander a new two-year employment contract. Board members Catherine Armstrong and Connie Baker voted against the motion.
The vote came after a motion by Grover May to offer Alexander a three-year contract. May said he wanted the longer contract in order to obtain stability in the office. He said a great deal of time and effort goes into the renewal of a contract for a superintendent.
Board member Phil Isaacs said he thought the contract should run with the election cycles and argued the contract should be for two years.
The board first voted on May’s three-year proposal, in which Isaac joined with Armstrong and Baker to vote down. He then sided with May and Chairwoman Rita Booher in approving the two-year contract.
The vote comes at a time when Alexander has faced opposition from parents and concerned citizens over his decision in the spring not to rehire Doug Mitchell as principal at West Side Elementary. Alexander has also faced criticism from Armstrong and Baker. Armstrong had called for a discussion in June over whether to allow his contract to expire Sept. 11 and replace him.
Baker spoke out about problems she has had in the community center she operates in a section of the old Douglas School building occupied by the school system as its central office. She said wires to computers have been cut and furniture removed. Armstrong also called on Alexander to apologize for allegedly calling her and her parents liars.
The new employment contract has the same content as Alexander’s current contract. Only the dates were changed.
May said he did extensive research about whether to rehire Alexander. He said he talked to many people and found that most of Alexander’s opponents referred to things in the past. He said he wanted stability so that people could focus on the future. He also sought data on the system’s outstanding performances in financial, academic and athletic standings.
May asked Alexander why he wanted to continue in the job. Alexander said he was looking forward to the time when 60 percent of the people of Carter County will drive past the new athletic complex and chorale director Debbie Gouge will have the music room appropriate for state champions.