Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Is ABSS deputy superintendent still suspended with pay?


QUESTION: Is the Alamance-Burlington school system’s deputy superintendent, Lowell Rogers, who was suspended from work in February of this year still being paid?  What is the statutory provision that allows him to continue being paid without having to perform the duties of the position?


ANSWER:  James Lowell Rogers, 47, white, male, of 2326 Marlow Drive, Burlington, is currently suspended with pay, ABSS officials have confirmed for The Alamance News.

However, Rogers recently submitted his resignation, which is scheduled to take effect June 30.

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During his suspension, Rogers has continued to receive his salary, which totals $173,055.95 and includes his state-funded base salary of $149,186.16, plus a state-funded administrative supplement of $23,869.79, based on salary data previously furnished by ABSS.  He was hired as the second-in-command within the ABSS administration in July 2022.

Rogers had been suspended from work with pay since February 20, 2024 after being charged by the State Bureau of Investigation with allegedly failing to report a crime against a juvenile on November 13, 2023, based on documents at the time in Alamance County criminal district court.  The case remains pending.

A criminal summons that the SBI issued for Rogers on February 19, 2024 stated, “The defendant unlawfully and willfully did and knowingly fail to report immediately a sexual offense that the defendant reasonably should have known was committed against I.B.R. [an approximately 7-year-old male], who was a juvenile at the time of the offense.”  The criminal summons did not specify whether the alleged victim was an ABSS student.

North Carolina’s mandatory reporting law classifies failure to report a crime against a juvenile as a Class I misdemeanor, with a conviction carrying a jail sentence of up to 120 days, plus fines and court costs.

Meanwhile, ABSS interim superintendent Dr. Bill Harrison pointed last week to a state statute, known informally as “due process” for educators and codified in state laws governing North Carolina public education.  That law provides that, if a superintendent believes cause may exist for dismissal or demotion, but that additional investigation is necessary, that employee may be suspended “for a reasonable time, not to exceed 90 days.”

The state law further stipulates that, if no dismissal or demotion proceedings are initiated within 90 days, the educator shall be reinstated, “and all records of the suspension with pay shall be removed” from his/her personnel file upon request.  The same state law also provides for an extension of the 90-day timeframe but allows the superintendent to initiate dismissal or demotion proceedings at any time during the period of the extension.

ABSS isn’t currently planning to hire someone to replace Rogers, Harrison told The Alamance News.

Rogers’ case was continued several times earlier this spring and is currently scheduled to be heard in Alamance County criminal district court on June 25, according to Alamance County court files.  He appears to have no prior record of any criminal charges or convictions in North Carolina.

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