Board split over principal’s contract

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, February 23, 2013

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The Chico School Board has some unfinished business to attend to next week after splitting on a vote to extend a group of administrator contracts Thursday.

Each February, the board votes on renewing and extending the contracts of campus administrators, athletic director, counselor and director of special programs.

Thursday, Superintendent Mike Jones recommended extending the contract of all administrators with the exception of middle school principal Maury Martin.

After three employees and a parent spoke in support of Martin, the board adjourned into closed session to discuss the contracts, then came back out to vote. Mark Tate, Noel Ruddick and Paul Cantrell voted in favor of Jones’ recommendation, which included not extending Martin’s contract, while Doug Bowyer, James “Pancho” Redwine and G.A. Buckner voted against the superintendent’s recommendation. Board member Craig Moss was absent due to a job obligation.

Because of the split vote, no action was taken on any contract.

A special meeting has been called for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, to once again vote on the contracts. The meeting will be held in Room 150 of Chico Elementary School.

Jones said Friday that he couldn’t comment on the specific reasons for not wanting to extend Martin’s contract.

“That’s my recommendation, and I don’t see that’s going to change,” Jones said.

Martin could not be reached for comment Friday. According to the biography provided on the Chico Middle School website, Martin is in his ninth year as principal at the school.

The campus received a state accountability rating of “academically acceptable” his first two years as principal before being rated “recognized” for four years straight. It dropped back down to “academically acceptable” two years ago, and ratings were not given last year.

In the federal accountability ratings, the middle school has met “adequate yearly progress” each year Martin has been principal.

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