Board Member Donates Salary For School Supplies

Johnston County School Board Member Ronald Johnson today announced he will donate his school board salary in November and December to buy school supplies for classroom teachers who have been told no funds are available for items like staplers, rubber bands and copy paper. Johnson has challenged his fellow school board members to also donate their salary for classroom items.

A member of the Johnston County School Board is going above and beyond to help teachers buy the classroom supplies that they need.

On October 12th, WTSB News reported exclusively that the four cabinet members serving under Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow all received large pay raises during a secret closed session meeting of the school board on August 8th.

At the same time, an average classroom teacher in Johnston County Schools received only a $350 raise this year.

School board member Ronald Johnson was the only member of the Board of Education to vote against the raises.

After the WTSB News story, Johnson said he began receiving phone calls, emails and texts from school teachers thanking him for standing up for them.  Johnson said he also learned that many teachers were having to pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets. Some were told there were no funds available at their schools for basic supplies like  staplers, copy paper and rubber bands.

In response, Johnson said he is donating his salary from the Board of Education in November and December to pay for classroom supplies in public schools across Johnston County.

It also comes at a time when the school system is weighing options on whether as many as 1,500 students who are projected to enroll in the Career and College Promise (CCP) classes at Johnston Community College in the 2018-19 school term may have to pay for a portion or all of their textbooks.

“With the concerns of the central cabinet and with students paying for textbooks, I have decided to give back the salary I earn as a member of the school board for the remainder of the year,” Johnson told WTSB News on Monday. “While this does not begin to cover all the needs of the school system, I hope this gesture shows my confidence in and appreciation of all teachers, teaching assistants, and other school staff in our county.”

Challenges Other School Board Members
Johnson also sent a message to his fellow school board members and to the cabinet personnel.

“We are entrusted to provide the best education possible, and it comes at the taxpayers’ expense. From the superintendent to the first year teacher, we are all public servants. I believe if you get rich in public service, then you’ve done the public no service. That is why I’m giving back my salary. I hope my colleagues will consider doing the same,” Johnson said.

Johnson said any teacher needing classroom supplies who had been told by administrators at their school no funds are available, to contact him directly. Johnson said he will personally shop for the supplies, as long as his money lasts, and will deliver them personally to the classrooms.

Cabinet Pay Raises
The administrative pay raises came under Dr. Ross Renfrow’s second year of leadership as Superintendent.  Renfrow promised transparency to all stakeholders but the pay raises were discussed in closed session and the item was not placed on the August 8th public meeting agenda.

All the raises were backdated to take effect on July 1st.

August 2017 Salary Increases
Crystal Roberts, Chief of Communication
$105,000 to $115,008  (+ $10,008)

Brian Vetrano, Chief of Human Capital
$109,350,12 to $115,008 (+ $5,657.88)

Dolores Gill, Chief of Staff
$103,812 to $115,008 (+ $11,196)

Eddie Price, Deputy Superintendent
$109,612.68 to $125,004 (+ $15,391.32)

The total pay raises for the 4 cabinet personnel totaled $42,252.32, enough to nearly pay for one new teaching position in Johnston County Schools or to allocate approximately $1,000 more to each school in the county for additional classroom supplies.

School Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow is being paid $216,688.92 this year, more than Gov. Roy Cooper’s salary of $141,265, and higher than US Representative David Rouzer’s annual pay of $174,000 but less than Wake County Superintendent Jim Merrell pay of $295,695.

Merrell oversees 159,000 students compared to 37,000 for Dr. Renfrow.  ($1.85 per student versus $5.85 per student) Merrell has been named state superintendent of the year 3 times.



  1. Well Mr Renfrow it would seem to me that your subordinates will be coming for your job soon… Can’t wait till it’s time for the next school board election. Great job Mr. Ronald Johnson!!

  2. Very respectable thing to do. It is a shame it is so necessary.
    I’d like to throw out some food for thought: what if every homeschooler and private schooler in the county suddenly put their kids in the public school system? The $$ per pupil that their parents’ tax dollars pay would actually be needed for these new students then to take their spots. Just where is that money? That goes to show the amount in the “pot” for education that is wasted for that student that is not taking their spot in the public system. Whether you agree with homeschooling or private schooling is not the issue at all… the point is that this highlights the poor stewardship of those education dollars.

  3. The salary that:
    Crystal Roberts,
    Brian Vetrano,
    Dolores Gill,
    Eddie Price, And especially
    Ross Renfrow,
    Are “Given” ( by taxpayers)
    Is WAYYYYY Overboard, not to even mention the INCREASED RAISE!
    That should have been & should Always be, voted on By The Taxpayer’s, not by themselves!!
    That money should have gone to the teachers! ( I am not a teacher & dont have any family members that are) however, if you lose what few teachers we have b/c of low pay, you certainly won’t attract any new teachers to this area b/c OF the pay!
    Ronald Johnson should be getting Ross Renfrows’ pay & position… Seems he’s the only honest AND caring one of them all!! ( I dont know any of them personally).
    They all need to think about all this around election time!
    My hat is off to you Mr. Ronald Johnson! Thank you, for Your thoughtfulness towards the teachers, students, schools, community & taxpayer’s money!!

  4. Pay & raises are WAY out of line.
    Great job Mr. Ronald Johnson!!
    Voters will remember, especially those whom get paid MORE than the governor…..
    Those increased salaries, should have gone to the teachers.

  5. Register to VOTE. VOTE in the good and VOTE out the bad. Ronald Johnson is the BEST the board has ever had. Thanks Ronald! Praises from John Radford

    • Agree.
      What you said, should be his campaign slogan:
      Vote in the good & vote out the BAD,
      Ronald Johnson is the best the board has ever HAD!

        • That is Great & it would be a great slogan for either of you & since you agree with the values of Mr. Ronald ( I sure do), I would certainly vote for you!!
          A whole board of people like you and Mr.Ronald, would be great!!
          Go for it, I’ll put your sign up in my yard!

  6. Ross Renfrow is extremely overpaid to sit in an office so to speak. The teachers need to split his salary and he live off theirs. Wonder if he could make it. Split his salary in half and start putting money toward education not to living extremely comfortable while teachers barely get by and pay for supplies. I would be ashamed. Good for you Mr. Johnson, very proud of you sir.

    • Ross Renfrow does much more than sit in an office and that applies to the rest of the cabinet members. Until the people commenting have worked their jobs or seen how dedicated the members are then I don’t see i‎t fit to form an opinion. Keep your ignorancy to yourself.

  7. Why is voting your own pay raise even allowed? Let the public vote on it. We’ll be fair, if you are. Explain why you need it, and/or why you’ve earned/deserve it, and we’ll give it to you. Same way the private sector does it.

    • Its based on the model our state legislature our US Congress uses. Its kind of obvious whats going on when a ‘candidate’ spends more money to get elected than the job pays. Im with you on doing it the way industry does. So many other big benefits too….like retirement….insurance….things that most companies cannot afford to over any longer.

  8. Thank you Mr. Johnson. Ross Renfrow should be fired and the previous board should be held accountable for not conducting an appropriate superintendent search previously. Can’t wait for next board elections…!!! As a Johnston county taxpayer, I have been incensed by the actions of the Johnston County School Board…

  9. Very admirable, Mr. Johnson, thank you!!! My question is this, what has happened to the millions on top of millions made off the North Carolina Education Lottery?!? There should be more than enough money to pay for ALL school supplies and raise the salaries off ALL teachers.

    • That my friend was just so that the Lottery company could use the slogan ‘Education Lottery’ in their name, logo, etc…making people ‘think’ they were doing something good. Of course with our government being involved…it was a lie…and the governor had the money spent before there ever was any money.

  10. I graduated with Ronald, some 16 years ago. Back then he was a good guy. Over the years I’ve read or heard about the great things he’s done for our communuty, as a police officer, a detective (I think), and now a school board member. I was actually more surprised by the fact that he chose politics, than the fact that he’s yet again, put the community he grew up in above himself. I shouldn’t be though, politics is the right place for someone with such dedication to the future of our county. My mom gave 30 years to Johnston County schools. My girls will give the next 10 to 12. I’m encouraged to know that they all have a voice and support in Ronald Johnson, and he has ours. Great job!

  11. This falls in line with exactly how this county has operated since Dr. Renfrow stepped in. They LOVE to put out all over social media and pretend they care about teachers. They put on a front, but behind the scenes they show who REALLY matters to them aka the good ole boys club.

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