HomeNewsJMCSS Board gives King 2-year extension

JMCSS Board gives King 2-year extension

After social media chatter throughout the day on Thursday caused supporters of Jackson-Madison County Schools Superintendent Marlon King to be worried about whether or not his contract would be renewed at last week’s school board meeting, those who showed up saw there was nothing to worry about.

King, who is completing his third year leading JMCSS, received a two-year contract extension to June 30, 2027, and a raise of $5,000 per year to $206,378.

Three people who signed up to speak during the public comments portion of the meeting did so in support of King.

Mal Matthews is the president of the Jackson Education Association. Victoria Toone represented the New Jackson-Madison County Voters Council. Sheila Godwin is a Madison County Commissioner.

“Dr. King does an excellent job taking care of the staff and faculty, and I want all faculty in attendance to please stand and give him a round of applause,” Matthews said, to which a number of people in the crowd stood and gave King the applause Matthews asked for.

“We agree with you when talking about the superintendent position that experience matters, and you got it right when you decided on the experienced Dr. Marlon King,” Toone said on behalf of the new voters’ council for the county. “Many of you were not here on this board when Dr. King was hired, but you can add your voice to this with a contract renewal and the support you show in trusting Dr. King.”

Godwin’s comments at this meeting mirrored those she’s given at a number of recent county commission committee meetings in support of King when the JMCSS budget and finances are being discussed.

“I’ve learned that he is a person that is compassionate and loves our children,” Godwin said. “I’ve spoken to many board members at a lot of these meetings, but since he’s been the superintendent, I don’t feel the need to speak at as many of these meetings as I used to because I think he’s doing a great job.”

When the agenda item came up in the meeting, Board Chairman James “Pete” Johnson gave an additional remark.

“I remember when we were meeting three years ago and discussing what we were looking for in our next superintendent, and I remember [JCM Early College High Principal] Dr. Nathan Lewis saying that we needed to get someone who loves children,” Johnson said. “Dr. King does love children and wants to keep them at the focus and the top priority in everything we do here.”

JMCSS Attorney Dale Thomas added that on top of the $5,000/year raise, JMCSS is paying for King’s membership in National Alliance of Black School Educators, vision insurance, buy-back provision for up to 15 unused vacation days (up from 10), a payment of $5,000 into the Letitia and Marlon King Seal Endowman with JMCSS, similar scheduled pay increases similar to that of teachers based on salary schedule and annual performance bonuses based on metrics established by the Board up to a gross payment of $50,000.

When it came time to vote, Board member Jason Compton said he was happy to move to approve King’s contract extension and renewal. Andre Darnell seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously 8-0. Harvey Walden did not attend the meeting.

After the meeting the Board posed for a photo as King and Johnson signed the new contract, and King took a group photo with everyone in attendance who gave the Board a standing ovation when they approved to extend King’s contract.

Other items that happened at the meeting include:

  • The Board voted unanimously to approve the JMCSS budget for 2023-24 fiscal year and kept the $1.2 million for teachers’ laptops in education capital to send back to the Madison County Commission for approval.
  • They approved the Lincoln turnaround plan for the coming school year.
  • Johnson made an official announcement at the meeting about Scott Gatlin’s pending resignation from the Board, adding jokingly that he had until the County Commission officially votes to accept it on Tuesday to rescind the resignation.
  • Another person who spoke during public comments approached the Board about being harassed as a teacher in the school she worked in this past year by students and administration, and she asked why her contract wasn’t renewed before Johnson said her comments had nothing to do with any agenda items so she needed to step away from the podium unless she was speaking about an agenda item.
  • One other person who had not gone through the proper channels to speak during public comments was escorted out by Deputy Superintendent Ricky Catlett and a school resource officer as the crowd in attendance gave the pair a round of applause.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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