Johnston County interim superintendent resigns, blames school board 'roadblocks' for driving him away

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WTVD) -- The man brought in to help right the ship at Johnston County Public Schools abruptly resigned Friday.

Dr. Jim Causby was named interim superintendent Sept. 3 after Dr. Ross Renfrow, who served as superintendent and in other capacities for 26 years, resigned amid a grade-fixing scandal.

After Causby took over, it came to light that the school district had run up a $10 million budget shortfall.

Then to start 2020, a school board member came forward with details of sexual misconduct. The Johnston County School Board Chairman attempted to discredit those misconduct allegations during a press conference Jan. 3.

Causby announced Friday he was resigning effective immediately. He was contracted to work through June 30.

In a written statement Causby blamed "roadblocks and interference" by some school board members as his reason for resigning.

"It is with great regret that I announce my resignation as Interim Superintendent of Johnston County Public Schools. I have not taken this decision lightly, and I continue to love the students, staff, and citizens of Johnston County. My long history in the school system has been one of the highlights of my career.

As I prepared for my arrival, I was informed that there were major budget needs, low morale, and the need to return to a sense of normalcy for the students and staff of the system. During my time in Johnston County Public Schools, I have aggressively worked to address these issues and was fully capable of bringing these issues to resolution.

The role of the Superintendent is to operate and make decisions regarding the needs of the school system. The role of the local Board of Education is to establish and adopt policies, budgets, and to oversee the governance of the system. When I agreed to return to Johnston County Public Schools during this time of transition, I was clear that I needed to make decisions and oversee the daily operations of the school system, which was agreeable to the Board.

However, I also discussed with the Board of Education of Johnston County Public Schools that at any time I believed the Board or individual Board members would not allow me to effectively perform my job as Superintendent, that I would no longer agree to continue in this role. I believe that there are members of the Board who have fully supported me and I appreciate them. However, there are roadblocks and interference by others on the board which have impeded my ability to effectively fulfil my role as Superintendent. Thank you to Chairman Mr.Todd Sutton, Vice Chair Dr. Peggy Smith, Mr. Mike Wooten, Mrs. Terri Sessoms, and Mrs. Tracie Zukowski who provided me with their full support during this time as I returned to Johnston County Public Schools. My integrity, honesty, and skills as a leader are important and crucial to me, and it is extremely concerning when those are questioned without merit.

I would like to thank the staff and administrators of Johnston County Public Schools who I know work tirelessly each day for our students. The students should be our focus and I am hopeful that the Board of Education can begin to focus on the students, current needs and to move beyond the past to find a replacement who can provide stability to the school system."
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