Surrounded by his family, Jimmy Clapp Jr. of Smithfield formally filed for a seat on the Johnston County Board of Education on Wednesday.
Clapp said he is running for school board to help the children of Johnston County, find affordable solutions for new building needs, while being fiscally conservative with taxpayers money.
Jimmy was employed with Johnston County Schools for nearly 20 years until his retirement in November 2017. He has a lifelong vested interest in the future of Johnston County Schools. His mother, Barbara Clapp, was a 29 year employee of the Johnston County School system having worked directly for three prior superintendents.
“I began my career with the school system as an electrician and worked my way to foreman of the electrical department and then Director of Facility Services,” Jimmy said. “During the last 9 years with the school system I supervised day-to-day operations of facility services including the overall effectiveness of the department’s programs while staying within budget.”
Responsible for the majority of all newly constructed schools, repairs, and relocation of mobile units, Jimmy was able to negotiate a mobile unit lease agreement that is currently saving the county $44,000 each year.
“My focus has been and will always be to put children and their best interests first. I also want to be an advocate for all school system staff,” Jimmy said while submitting his paperwork at the Johnston County Board of Elections Office. “If elected, I promise to be a voice for all teachers, teacher assistants, cafeteria workers, maintenance staff, custodians, bus drivers, and principals as well as parents and children in the school system. These employees are where the ‘rubber meets the road’.”
Like many other taxpayers in the community, Jimmy was opposed to the significant pay raises for the highest paid school administrators in 2017 while many system employees work two jobs to make ends meet and teachers are forced to purchase out-of-pocket their own classroom supplies.
“My goal is to remain on a first-name basis with many school employees in an effort to encourage them to speak freely about any issue or concern,” Jimmy told WTSB News. “I want to offer my insight on the inter-workings of school facilities, the costs for upkeep, costs for new schools and how to save taxpayers money while still accommodating the needs associated with continued growth.”
Mr. Clapp said he believes his extensive expertise in school construction combined with 20 years working in Facility Services can offer a wealth of information in the area of school construction costs – one of the highest price-tagged items for taxpayers. “I want to be a part of the solution to our building needs. The school system has long been overwhelmed with growth. If elected, I will be an advocate for our children and all school system staff, including teachers. I will work to find more ways to save money, cut wasteful spending throughout the system and be a diligent steward of taxpayer’s money.
“Instead of giving $10,000 to $15,000 pay raises in closed session to the 4 top cabinet members, we should be giving raises to all school system employees including teachers. Our teacher turnover rate in 2015-16 was 14 percent and over half of our teachers left that year to go to Wake County because of higher salaries and supplements. You don’t see administrators leaving to go to Wake County. I will be a voice for the hardworking taxpayer, underpaid certified and classified staff, and concerned parents tired of bureaucracy and wasteful spending.”
For those who know me, I always like to say, “Speak with honesty, Think with sincerity and Act with integrity.”
Jimmy Clapp, 50, is the owner and operator of Servco Construction. He resides in Smithfield with his wife of 28 years, Debbie, and their 2 children Josh and Ashley. Jimmy, Debbie and Josh all attended Johnston County Schools and graduated from Smithfield-Selma High School. Ashley is currently a fifth grader at South Smithfield Elementary.
In his spare time Jimmy’s passion for youth carried over into coaching Little League and YMCA, including two years as President of the Smithfield-Selma High School Band Boosters. Jimmy previously volunteered on the Smithfield and Wilson’s Mills Fire Departments.