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New contract means Dykes to remain director of schools

Washington County Director of Schools Ron Dykes received an average score of 4.11 on a five-point scale during his annual evaluation. Still, some school board members think his score should be even higher.
The evaluation requests school board members give scores regarding Dykes’ performance in six goal areas — educational leadership, fiscal responsibility, school safety, facilities management, relationship building and human resources.
“I don’t understand why school safety was one of the lowest scores after all the talk this year,” David Hammond said. “I think it’s almost an insult to the board.”
Hammond said the BOE, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the school system made improving safety a priority, and he thinks it should have been one of the highest scores.
“You’re acting like it’s a two, it’s almost a four,” member Phillip McLain said of the 3.99 average safety score.
Board member Chad Williams said the evaluation is an opportunity for all members to share their opinions.
“I think he deserves (an overall) five,” board member Mary Lo Silvers said, making a motion for a contract extension for Dykes.
During the annual evaluation process, school board members can recommend a salary increase and/or a contract extension.
Hammond said a new contract would be required for a three-year extension because state law does not allow a school director’s contract to exceed four years. The contract Dykes was under prior to the vote would have expired in 2014.
Silvers amended her motion to recommend a new contract at the same terms for three years.
Hammond shared information from system employees regarding Dykes’ performance.
“Right or wrong, when I ran I said I would poll teachers for their opinions,” he said. “They are comfortable with the administration, and feel like there has been accountability and an open door policy. The concerns I heard I took to the director and he’s going to follow through.”
Williams pointed out Dykes has done well on all of his evaluations since he was hired in 2007.
Based on the terms of his contract, Dykes’ evaluation score means he gets a bonus.
“That, to me, is very hard to swallow,” said board member Jack Leonard. “Teachers and principals don’t get bonuses.”
Following the discussion, Dykes was awarded a new, three-year contract, with McLain, Leonard and Keith Ervin opposed.