PB board rescinds teacher pay vote over procedural concerns

The Pine Bluff School District Board of Directors voted Thursday in a special called meeting to rescind its Sept. 17 vote to pay 2013 summer school teachers the same amount made by their 2012 cohorts because of the way it was presented to the board.

Board secretary Leon Jones made the motion to rescind the vote, emphasizing that while he still believed in the content of the measure he did not believe in the manner of its execution during last week’s regular monthly board meeting.

“When we discussed this last week I was not as knowledgeable about things as I am now,” Jones said. “I move that we rescind the previous vote because it was presented in the wrong way.”

The motion was seconded by board member Andrea Roaf-Little.

Board president Piccola Washington addressed the board.

“I have communicated with our attorney who has advised me that this vote was not done correctly,” Washington said. “My hope is that we work towards doing things that are right and fair. This is why I feel we need to make this move tonight.”

Jones added another thought.

“I reached out for advice on this and I am confident that what we wanted to do with regard to summer school teacher pay is right but the way that we voted was wrong,” Jones said. “I know that part of the reason for low morale among our teachers is due to communication breakdowns.”

The measure passed by a vote of 5-2.

Board vice president Ken Dickson and board member Phyllis Wilkins voted against the motion to rescind for very different reasons.

“I don’t need to rescind my vote because I voted against the measure last week so I vote no,” Dickson said.

Wilkins brought the teacher pay motion before the board in the Sept. 17 meeting.

“I just want to say that I agree with what was said here tonight but it is imperative that we have contracts completed before teachers and staff start working,” Wilkins said. “The working hours and the rate of pay must be clearly spelled out.”