Limit Thornton’s pay raise to 2%

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

The June 10 Isle of Wight County School Board agenda has items for discussion of Dr. James Thornton’s evaluation, performance, amendment to contract and salary.

At the Jan. 15, 2020, board meeting, Chair Jacqueline Carr and Vicky Hulick told everyone that in Dr. Thornton’s contract he would be getting a 2% raise if all employees received a 2% raise for the 2021-22 school year, which supposedly they are.

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Division rankings have gone down from 16 to 45 since Thornton, so why does he keep getting raises? He is the only employee who has received a guaranteed 2% raise for the last four years, with a salary now at $165,135, with no performance benchmarks to meet for his raises.

Wasn’t the previous superintendent, Dr. A. Katrise Perera, paid her full per diem pay for all unused sick leave with a payout of $80,000 that pushed her salary in April 2015 from $154,000 to $234,000 in May in violation of policy? Two board members had integrity back then because Julia Perkins and Alvin Wilson voted against her payout, but Robert Eley, Ed Easter and Denise Tynes voted for it.

Why is the topic of Dr. Thornton’s salary or an amendment to his contract for possibly the same underhanded maneuver done for Perera for a golden parachute now being mentioned in June, the last month of the fiscal year, and not during the budget meetings or the public hearing? Money not spent by the school division is returned to the Board of Supervisors or citizens.

Mrs. Carr, you have repeatedly said you have nothing to hide, would not do anything dishonest on the board and Dr. Thornton is like any other employee. If you told the truth and the board truly works for the citizens and not him, the board needs to vote a 2% raise only.


LaShaunda Slade