$180,000 Consulting Contract With Former School Superintendent Considered

SMITHFIELD – Johnston County Public Schools is reportedly considering a lucrative one-year contract with a former superintendent.  The Johnston County Report has learned some members of the Johnston County school board want to hire former Superintendent Dr. Anthony Parker to perform a facilities assessment for a JCPS Bond Referendum to be decided by voters in November 2022. The work would involve identifying projects to place on the 2022 school bond referendum and the cost.

Parker, is the owner of Parker and Parker Education Consulting, a company he formed in August 2020.  Under the proposed $180,000 contract with Johnston County Public Schools , his company would be paid $15,000 per month for 12 months plus reimbursement for mileage and lodging for one of the firms out-of-state specialists.  The contract stipulates JCPS must make payment within 7 days of receiving an invoice, not the typical 30 day payment terms.  If the work is completed earlier than 12 months, the school board must pay the remainder of the money due in lump sum within 15 days of receiving a final invoice.

Parker served as Johnston County School superintendent from Jan. 2003 to Jan. 2009. Current school board member Kay Carroll was the school board chairman during a portion of Mr. Parker’s tenure.

Parker resigned from Johnston County Schools in 2009 to accept a job as superintendent of Berkeley County SC Schools. He served until 2011 when he resigned.

From March 2011 to March 2016, Mr. Parker worked as the Director of Marketing for Hite Associates, a company frequently used by JCPS to design school buildings and additions. 

From August 2015 to July 2020, Mr. Parker was the Chief Operating Officer for Harding Parker & Associates, a firm hired by Berkeley County Schools to do facilities consulting work several years after he resigned as superintendent.  From 2017 to 2018 he was paid $382,310 by Berkley County Schools.  

In July 2018, the South Carolina school board voted 5-to-3 to extend the contract paying Mr. Parker $7,500 a month plus expenses.

In October 2020, Dr. Parker resigned one day after his contract was approved as a consultant to Robeson County Public Schools.  Parker was hired by interim Superintendent Loistine DeFreece to consult with the school district at a cost of $4,000 per month.   

The reason for his 2020 resignation was not disclosed, but it came as some Lumberton-area residents voiced concern the cash-strapped Robeson County School board was spending over $10,000 a month to employ Dr. Parker and the interim superintendent.    

The lucrative Johnston County contract with Dr. Parker was reportedly considered during a June 2021 closed session but was not approved.  Some people have questioned why the contract was not put out to bid. It is an option but not a state requirement.

According to a public records law expert, Fraya Bluestein, Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government, only contracts for construction or repairs, purchases of apparatus, supplies, materials, and equipment are subject to the bidding requirement. 

Even if the board was not required to put the contract out to bid, Bluestein said she did not know of any basis for the school board to discuss the contract in closed session.   

School Board Ken Soo disagreed saying the JCPS Board is allowed to hear “privileged legal advice in closed session, including advice about contracts.”

School Board Chairman Todd Sutton said a decision has not been made on whether to do the work in-house or hire an outside firm. Sutton says he is awaiting a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy.

“The Board needs an up-to-date review of building capacity and student enrollment so that we can be prepared to serve our families as our county continues to grow. I am asking the Superintendent and his staff to study the best way to handle this question and make a recommendation to the Board on how to go forward, including whether to conduct an internal review or contract with an outside group,” Chairman Sutton said.

We attempted to reach Mr. Parker for a comment but were unsuccessful.


    • Yes, the key word here is very accurate. It seems very “lucrative”. The question I have is why can’t we pay our current school board members and superintendent to do the job? Why do we spend money for outsiders who have set up for themselves such lucrative endeavors? It seems we have a system that has evolved where we expect and receive favors. No wonder teachers get the low end of the stick so much. It is about all the bureaucrats who enrich themselves on the public forum. We need to get smarter.

  1. Didn’t we hire an engineer that was responsible for this? I can not imagine we need to spend this kind of money. This is essentially amounts to 2 people, full time, for a year. I can’t imagine the associated “expertise” is worth this. PLUS, attendance has declined so where is the growth?

  2. I smell a rotting egg.
    I’m sure a lucrative amount will find its way back to some board members pockets.
    Pay it out of funds that’s already been alotted.

  3. Sounds like more good ol boy club shenanigans! JCPS has plenty of people on staff qualified to do this assessment who are already paid well. Use the money to pay teachers and school staff better. No contract should come with a clause of “if we complete early we still get fully paid”!

  4. Thank you Mr. Ron Johnson for not letting this dark shadow money quietly being shoveled into the “Squad of CRT Cult” board members friends pockets. This board will still vote to approve it just to show you parents and tax payers the disrespect they have for you. I am so glad we have a Ron Johnson so these dark shadow business practices are brought out so the public can see this money isn’t for the kids or teachers but for friends of the board members. Then who knows if it gets back into a board member bank account once it has been all cleaned up? That is the reason you don’t do business like this in secret.

  5. Folks, just open your minds and I am not making any accusations just asking questions? A new business opens up exactly one year to this month called Parker & Parker Education Consulting and our school board members in secret wanted to hand over $180,000.00 to this business that I can’t find a physical address or phone number to by googling this business on the web. Tax Payers common sense will tell anyone that has any business morals you don’t use this kind of dark shadow business practices like this if every thing is on the up and up. Did the school board just want to keep this secret because he just created this business exactly one year ago? Did the school board members and Mr. Parker know exactly one year ago to create this business and we will have a proposition for you? How can these board members show their face in public is astonishing to me. School Board of Johnston County stop your dark shadow business practices NOW!!!

  6. The rich getting richer, (while vaccinated and wearing masks), the poor getting poorer with illusions of freedom in a rich man’s world while not vaccinated and against mask! You do the math.

  7. Kay Carroll advocating for his friend. 100% unethical and Carroll tried to make it happen in a closed session. One has to question what Carroll gets out of this deal. I’m not a big fan or RonJon but he did bring this to our attention previously.

  8. Folks, remember that Todd Sutton is the chairman of this board and he can stop this contract from even getting a chance to be voted on. Just like he could had stopped the vote to make your kids to mask up, but then Todd Sutton, voted with Mike Wooten against masking up knowing the board had the votes to push the masks on your kids anyway. Just know Todd Sutton and Mike Wooten wants to be your conservative friends because they are in political trouble and Todd Sutton will allow this contract to get a vote even if him and Wooten votes against it. Don’t you love the dishonesty these politicians have for us Folks.

  9. JCPS has already hired individuals who know the needs of their schools – school administrators and facility services. Although they may not be “engineers” they live in these places and have an intimate knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. School advisory councils are great resources which are rarely used but whom provide great information and local expertise for information specific to their schools. My question: Is this a one year contract or a five year plan at $180,000 a year?

  10. Ron-Jon you have busted a $180,000.00 hornet nest wide open, you need to be careful because you are disrupting big money and these folks have big plans for this big money. Ron-Jon when you go into that next school board meeting keep your back to the wall.

  11. There is no reason with the heavy staff at Central Office that this needs to go “outside.” First talk to the principals of each school, tour the facility, note the needs. Have the County Commissioners provide the information on new subdivisions recently or now being built to calculate the potential new students coming in. DO some simple math and you should be able to see where and what level schools are needed. Add that to the additions or retrofits of existing schools. Simple math and there are people with the titles at Central Office already on the payroll to accomplish this task. $180,000 after there are still no answers about the “other” unexplained expenditures for the past , is not prudent. Forget the politics of the school board- common sense doesn’t have an expiration.

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