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Four More Years Approved

PRINCE EDWARD – County school board members following closed session Wednesday night approved an ending and a new beginning.

The board, specifically, agreed to end Division Superintendent Dr. David Smith's contract, and appointed him to a term beginning September 5 and extends to June 30, 2016.

Dr. Smith's contract had been scheduled to end June 30, 2013.

School Board Chairman Russell Dove would explain after the meeting that by law they have to terminate a contract before they can write another contract. The language in the contract, he also elaborated, said they have to provide the superintendent a notification on whether they want to continue his contract six months prior to termination of that contract, which would have been in December.

“…We felt it was important to just go ahead and address the contract now,” Dove told The Herald.

He added that it will enable the board and the superintendent going forward to keep their focus on student improvement, student achievement, parental involvement and engaging the community “and all the other issues…we must contend with.”

The board's action does not include a pay increase, but does include an adjustment in his annuity, according to Dove.

Dr. Smith said he was pleased after the meeting.

“I appreciate the confidence that the board has in the work that we continue to do together as a team here in Prince Edward,” Dr. Smith said. “And I look forward to continuing the work that we've already set in place. It's showing some results in gains in student achievement and other improvements in the operation of the school division.”

He added, “…Again, I'm very appreciative of the confidence that they've shown in me and also in our working relationship.”

Dr. Smith noted that he looks forward to serving the children of Prince Edward County into the future.

Asked to comment generally on Dr. Smith's performance as a superintendent, Dove noted that the superintendent is well versed in all aspects of what it takes to operate a school academically, dealing with budget issues, infrastructure.

“I think he's a well rounded superintendent," Dove said.

He indicated that they felt that in light of some of the challenges they have they want to take advantage of his skills at all levels.

Dove would later note that they feel like they are moving in the right direction and want to set a plan in motion to continue that progress. He noted they are pleased that the numbers indicate that they are making progress.

“Maybe not to the level we had hoped for, but we are making progress and we believe some of the…structures…put in place will even increase that progress,” Dove said.

Board approval was without dissent, minus one member who was not present at the time of the vote.