Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Why wasn’t ABSS superintendent at meeting with commissioners on Friday?

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QUESTION: The Alamance-Burlington school board held a meeting Friday afternoon – the third such meeting last week – to ask Alamance County’s commissioners to allocate millions in funding for mold remediation at multiple schools, which subsequently prompted ABSS to delay the beginning of the school year for a second time, from August 28 to September 5, and now September 11.

All five county commissioners were there, as were the six school board members. Why was the superintendent, Dr. Dain Butler, not present for this meeting?

ANSWER: Asked Wednesday about his absence from the meeting, Butler told The Alamance News, “I had family business to take care of.”

Asked whether he was in town at the time, Butler responded, “That, frankly, is nobody’s business.”

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However, school board chairman Sandy Ellington-Graves proffered at the outset of Friday’s meeting that Butler was “traveling” and would be unable to attend.

Butler pointed out to the newspaper Wednesday morning, “For the record, we accommodated [commissioner chairman John] Paisley and [commissioner vice chairman Steve] Carter to have the meeting in the morning. I could’ve made 8:00 [a.m.] but not 3:00 [p.m.] I was able to watch via Zoom, but I could not participate.”

Butler also said he felt that his staff had handled the meeting well in his absence. ABSS deputy superintendent Lowell Rogers presided over the meeting; and ABSS chief operations officer Greg Hook fielded many of the commissioners’ questions.

The commissioners ultimately voted 5-0 late Friday afternoon to designate an additional $6.8 million in funding to ABSS fold mold remediation, as well as HVAC cleaning at several schools – which was on top of the $10.5 million they had allocated to ABSS from county capital reserves for mold cleanup earlier last week.

Butler volunteered in the interview Wednesday that “did take an annual day,” which he described as a type of personal leave time designated for central office staff, including him.

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