LUDOWICI — In the final year of a three-year contract, Long County School Superintendent Dr. Edwin Pope is suddenly facing the prospect he may not return for the 2008-09 school year.
The news his contract may not be renewed came as a surprise for the school superintendent who first learned about the issue this past month.
“After the December board meeting, the chairman came to me and said he had been selected to tell me some bad news. That it looked as though the board may not be re-instating my contract, and he was letting me know to give me the opportunity to resign if I so chose,” Pope said.
“According to evaluations given to me, any areas of concern from the board I had addressed, at least from what they had told me. As far as I knew, they were satisfied with my job performance.
“I would love to be back. There are projects that we have started, like the new school and I would like to see them through. Also, I would like to see the children and citizens of the county continue to get a quality education as we address the growth in the community,” he said.
BoE Chairman Dempsey Golden confirmed Pope’s fears.
“At this time, it is my opinion that the board’s vote would be negative on him being reinstated,” Golden said.
He would not say how he vote on Pope’s contract, saying he did not want to discuss how individual would vote because a vote may not be necessary.
“I have heard that Dr. Pope may resign and if that occurs no vote will be necessary,” Golden said.
Board member Flora Baggs would not confirm whether the board was planning to renew Pope’s contract, but said she would not vote in his favor.
“Our relationship has been strained from his first year and there have been several things we did not agree on. I just don’t feel it would be in the best interest of the schools to bring him back,” Baggs said.
Board members Emma Strickland, Linda DeLoach and Billy Hall also couldn’t confirm whether the board would renew Pope’s contract and chose not to disclose how they would vote. They also declined further comment.
This past year, all three schools in Long County made the AYP standards, and, according to a recent report, the high school was ranked 92nd in the state out of 369 high schools.
The next BoE meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14.