Residents Express Concerns as Two School Directors, Not One, Draw Money from Stewart County Taxpayers


Certain members of the Stewart County School Board waste taxpayer money by having not one but two school directors on the county payroll, says a county resident unhappy with the situation.

That man, Dave Vance, told The Tennessee Star Friday that Board Chairman Billy Sexton has mishandled things.

As reported, board members appointed an interim director of schools Thursday, even though current Director Leta Jo Joiner has not officially resigned.

This, one week after Joiner’s DUI arrest.

Sexton said retired educator Tracy Watson was willing to take over as interim director. Board members voted unanimously to make it so.

Vance said Sexton had too much say in the matter, while board members didn’t have enough.

“We’re paying for two directors and only getting one. This is like the board reacting to the chairman instead of the board being involved throughout this whole process like they should be,” said Vance, who has a grandchild in the school district.

“But this meeting should not have been them just coming there to have a name to vote on. This should have been the board involved with asking ‘Who do we want to consider? How long are we looking at?’ If they were going to put her (Joiner) on leave they should have said ‘OK, we are going to put her on leave for X number of days.’ Right now, we essentially have two directors.”

Vance said he attends more than a few board meetings and sometimes speaks out during the public comment portion.

As reported, Sexton said he expects Joiner will eventually resign, but he does not know when.

Board Member Gary Dacus indicated Thursday he had a problem with not knowing when Joiner will leave, and he did not want the matter to get “dragged out.” He also said he fears Joiner might take a full year of sick leave.

Members of the Tennessee School Boards Association recommended that Stewart County School Board members appoint an interim director of schools now instead of later.

Dacus said he wanted to schedule a meeting to discuss accepting Joiner’s resignation.

Watson said she only wants to serve as interim director and will not accept a job as Joiner’s permanent replacement.

As The Star reported last week, authorities arrested Joiner and charged her with driving under the influence.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]




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