NAACP statement, schools director's statement presented as obtained

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Marshall County Tribune borrowed the prepared statement by Marshall County NAACP President Gary Davis as read to the county school board on Thursday night, Aug. 9.

County Schools Director Jackie Abernathy released her response by e-mail the next morning, Friday, Aug. 10. It is reproduced below.

Neither document was altered for this presentation and neither Abernathy nor Davis was consulted about posting their statements on the Internet. Therefore, they could be viewed as the speaker's script prepared for reading and the director's quick response to a second assemblage of concerns from the association this summer.

Abernathy's statement follows Davis's statements below.

Here is the statement read by Gary Davis, Marshall County NAACP president.

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Mr. Chair, Members of the Marshall County Board of Education, Madame Director of Schools:

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Marshall Co School System for acquiring exemplary status under Mr. Roy Dukes' administration 2011-2012.

We do not argue the fact that the director is, and should be, looking for ways to save the school system money. We do, however, strongly disagree with several of the actions she has taken in implementing the changes.

Actions such as:

* The most qualified employee in the school system was demoted to a PE teacher rather than elevated to a position of higher responsibility.

* Out of the $140,000, in so called savings, most of the savings were the direct result of three African-Americans females being either demoted or released.

* Although there were several pay increases, none of these were minorities and four minorities were removed from the Central Office via demotion or dismissals.

* New director's actions have totally reversed the elements of diversity put in place by the previous administration.

* Can any of you tell us, "What is the true total of county savings after new hires and new positions?"

* All of the rumors broadcasted prior to the current Director assuming her duties has come to pass. Even the projection of who she was going to hire.

According to the overview of administrators pay schedule, African American administrators were demoted in position and took substantial cuts in pay.

No Justice. No Peace.

African Americans are a true minority in Marshall Co, therefore the community is very concerned that our previous minority administrators were demoted by the current Director of Schools. We are also concerned at the tactics that she used to justify her action. We are more devastated that you as the board would sat idly by and rubber stamp these acts.

No Justice. No Peace.

The African American administrators that were inadvertently demoted/dismissed, have dedicated many years in the system and played key rolls on the recognition of our school system receiving exemplary status by the state.

No Justice. No Peace.

These administrators, with a combined 65 years of service in education, have all been basically been returned to the beginning of their career status just like the recent new hires of the system. These actions have severely affected many of their retirement and in some case their ability to meet their personal objectives as it relate to their true potential as educators. Also previous administrators whose position was changed did not receive a pay check for the month of July and they were not notified.

No Justice. No Peace.

These are just a few of the questions and concerns that the tax paying community is inquiring about. This is a disservice to all tax payers, our children, Marshall County, the Department of Education and the United States.

No Justice. No Peace.

In summary, the community feels that the changes the director and the board have allowed has hurt minorities and veteran employees, by degrading and demoting them. How do you say we need to hire our own when you treat them unjustly? The years of service and disregard for their livelihood are unacceptable and incomprehensible. Cronyism, Nepotism and discrimination must stop now.

No Justice. No Peace.

No Justice. No Peace.

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Abernathy's statement follows:

In light of the false accusations read by Gary Davis from his prepared speech, I feel compelled to provide you with accurate information.

1.Diversity training has already been addressed by the current administration, and steps are being taken to include all Marshall County School employees in this training.

2.The next concern was saving the district and the tax-payers money through the re-organization of the Central Office.

Demoting the most qualified person in the school system to a PE teacher

There are 3 employees with Doctorate Degrees--2 Caucasians and 1 AA--all three are in classroom positions. I am not sure what criteria is being considered to determine "the most qualified" by Mr. Davis.

Demoting or releasing 3 AA females.

There were actually 10 employees no longer in their positions at the Central Office. Two females were dismissed--one African American and one Caucasian in April.

One AA female was not rehired in June, and one Caucasian was not rehired in June. Four Caucasian females and one male were demoted, or transferred to other positions with lower pay. Two AA females were transferred to other positions with lower pay. One of those to an administrative position when in reality without an actual teaching license could have been a non-rehire since tenure is only granted as a certified teacher.

No minority received a pay increase although other employees received them.

There were no increases in pay for any employees regardless of race except for the 2.5% increase from the state given to all certified employees. The Director is the only certified employee excluded from this increase, and she is not making as much in salary as the previous director.

4 minorities were removed from the CO by dismissal or demotion.

Four minorities are no longer in their previous positions at the CO as well as 7 Caucasians. One Caucasian and one minority were placed in positions that became available at LMS. A minority who did not apply for one of the new positions was transferred to an administrative position at Oak Grove.

What is the true county savings after new hires and new positions?

Two positions were combined because one supervisor was in charge of 9 teachers and 5 para-pros. Another position was in charge of 29 teachers and 36 para-pros.

With the continuous cuts in Sp. Ed. and Federal Money, it was unrealistic to pay nearly $180,000 to supervise these low numbers of teachers. The current position which was combined is paying $74,175 (includes benefits).

The savings at Central Office was at least $129,000 based on reductions in salaries for Coordinator of Elem., Coordinator of Sec., Attendance, Guidance, TEAM, Coordinator of Sp. Ed. Federal Projects, the asst. Director, etc.

System-wide savings will be determined once all salaries are placed in the payroll system for this year.

Rumors that were broadcast prior to the current director assuming her duties have (has) come to pass, even the projection of who she was going to hire.

All supervisory positions and administrative positions were posted and applicants were interviewed by a committee comprised of a diverse population. Candidates were all asked the same questions, were ranked, and discussions were held by the committees which made a recommendation to the Director. Minorities who participated on the panels included Deborah Wade, Linda Williams Lee, Nicky Randolph, and Shonda Sparrow.

According to an overview of the administrative pay schedules, AA administrators were demoted in positions and took substantial cuts in pay.

All newly assigned and newly hired school administrators were hired on a new pay scale which reflects lower salaries than the previous schedule regardless of race. This included 3 Caucasians and 2 AA. All newly hired or newly assigned CO staff members were also hired on a new scale.

Our previous minority administrator was demoted by the current Director of Schools. We are also concerned at the tactic that she "use" to justify her acts.

I have no idea who this refers to unless it is Mr. Dukes for which I had no control.

The decisions that I have made as Director of Schools have been based on what is best for the children of Marshall County while remaining accountable to the taxpayers.

Previous administrators whose "position" would change did not receive a paycheck for the month of July and were not notified.

I would think that administrators would know that if they were not working, they would not receive a check. These are educated people who should have realized this. They were given a transfer letter which reflected the new positions to which they were assigned. I guess I assumed they would be knowledgeable enough about their contract to realize this. In the future, I will see that they are notified in writing.

Current Statistics:'Current Student Population of students in the Marshall County Schools (as of August 9th, 2012)----84% White--7.7% African American--6.4 Hispanic.

Total School Administrators: 17.6 % African Americans

Total Central Office Staff; 15.3% African Americans

Central Office Supervisors: 9% African Americans

Total Minority Teachers: 6%

New Minorities hired this summer:

Principal--- MES

MCHS Head Football Coach

CVH--Head Basketball Coach





Bus Garage--Van Driver


LMS Asst.

Total number of non-rehires for the 2012-2013 School year.


Classified---4 Caucasians--1 African American

10--Certified--All Caucasians

I have attended every meeting that I have been asked to attend including a meeting with state leaders of the NAACP. These accusations are unfounded and were presented in a public meeting and in a threatening manner.

Jackie Abernathy

Director of Schools

700 Jones Circle, Lewisburg, TN 37091