Farley out as superintendent in Granville

Jun. 11, 2014 @ 09:04 PM

OXFORD — Superintendent Tim Farley is out of Granville County Public Schools, whose embattled board gave him more than a quarter-million dollars in settlement.

Following the resumption of a closed session Wednesday evening, a motion to accept his resignation was passed 5-2. More than 100 members of the public turned out for the meeting of less than two hours that included tears and ovations.

Farley, under contract at about $200,000 through the 2016-2017 academic year, accepted a lump sum payment of $300,000 and will also get an $18,000 supplement to which he is entitled. Farley’s last day is June 30 and he is on personal leave until that time.

Farley, who came to Granville from Mount Airy to begin the 2007-2008 school year, did not attend the meeting. Efforts to reach him afterward for reaction were unsuccessful.

Dorwin Howard was named the acting superintendent through the end of June and will become interim superintendent July 1. He read a statement to the board and audience, which received a standing ovation.

In it, he closed by saying, “I hope we will begin tonight, the much needed healing process for ourselves and our community; and work together, building on the solid educational foundation for which Granville County Schools have long been known, to continuously improve, to be innovative, to have schools that are safe and inviting, all to give the children of Granville County Public Schools the best education possible for years to come.”

Granville County Schools have their last day today and will graduate through the weekend. Farley’s son is among the graduates at J.F. Webb on Saturday night.

Farley, in an interview with The Dispatch last Thursday, acknowledged his contract had become a “bone of contention” in the community. He accepted a decrease in his compensation package last fall, and said he offered another to the full board this spring.

He pledged his loyalty to the school system and reiterated his hope to remain in Granville County and eventually to retire here.

Voting against accepting Farley’s resignation were Leonard Peace of District 4 and Patrick Cox of District 3. Voting for his ouster were chairwoman Brenda Dickerson-Daniel, vice chairman Donnie Boyd, Shirley Lane, Rose Lyon and Toney Smith.

Wednesday’s meeting, held at Northern Granville Middle School in anticipation of large public interest, was a resumption of a meeting recessed on June 2 that lasted until about midnight.

The board’s called meeting on Friday, May 16, also drew a large audience.

The first public discussion of Farley’s compensation surfaced last fall after WRAL-Ch. 5 aired a story on superintendents’ salaries. The issue was addressed at two subsequent board meetings and Farley accepted a reduction in his compensation package.

Dickerson-Daniel, who was elected chairwoman of the board in December, called a special meeting on Feb. 19 to address what she described as board members’ concerns about compensation of the district’s top administrators. At that meeting, a motion was approved to hire the law firm of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey and Leonard to conduct an audit of policies and practices related to administrators’ compensation.

On May 5, Jill Wilson, an attorney with the firm, presented a report to the school board. The report states the board did not always take formal action to approve or extend contracts of some administrators, a statement Farley said is contradicted by board minutes.

The audit also has redactions. The Dispatch has requested an unredacted version.

At the crowded June 2 meeting, residents expressed their dismay at what the report stated. Farley met with several media outlets, including The Dispatch, last Thursday to explain and defend his record. He called the audit “misleading.”

The board has exchanged accusations among members, changed attorneys and watched two board members go down in defeat during last month’s election.

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.