Dr. Causby Denies Making Statement Finance Officer Purposely Lied
Refuses To Tolerate Slander
No Evidence Of Any Wrongdoing By Staff Or Board Members
Johnston County Schools interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Causby has responded to allegations made by school board member Ronald Johnson in an interview posted Monday on JoCoReport. Dr. Causby initially declined on Monday to comment on Johnson’s allegations. On Tuesday, however, Dr. Causby changed his mind and released the following statement:
I read with interest the December 30th JoCoReport.com interview of Johnston County School Board member Ronald Johnson. In that interview he made numerous allegations about other members of the Johnston County Board of Education involving alleged financial corruption, sexual harassment, and unethical activity. In my capacity as Interim Superintendent of Johnston County Schools I feel a responsibility to respond in general to the interview allegations and to two specific areas of those allegations.
When I returned to Johnston County Schools in September 2019, I immediately identified problem areas that needed to be immediately addressed. The two most pressing issues at that time were the Principal situation at Clayton High School and the school system’s financial circumstances. I spent a great deal of time on the first one and I am still struggling with the second. During the four months I have been in Johnston County I have made every effort to be transparent with school system issues and to maintain the high standards for honesty and integrity that I hold myself to.
So, what have I found in terms of corruption allegations made by Ronald Johnson. I have shared abundant information about the school system’s financial condition so there is no need to review all that at this point. But it is important that I once again say what I have been saying since my study of our school system finances began. I have found no evidence of any wrongdoing by any board member or staff member. And while Mr. Johnson has made many accusations of wrongdoing, he has not provided one piece of evidence to support those accusations. Perhaps he has some evidence but I have not seen it.
I do want to specifically address two areas of Mr. Johnson’s statements. He stated that in a meeting with him, Teresa Grant, and Todd Sutton on October 3, 2019 I stated that the school system Finance Officer, Art Stanley, had “purposely lied to the school board and Johnston County Commissioners” and that Mr. Stanley had “misrepresented and signed fictitious documents”. I totally deny ever having made those statements. In fact, my response to any questions about Art Stanley’s involvement in school system financial problems is that everything he has done has been appropriate and legal. Art has worked tirelessly to manage a very difficult financial situation and I have great respect and appreciation for him and his staff. I will not tolerate him being slandered by anyone.
Secondly, I want to address the allegations of sexual harassment. I have no knowledge of what occurred with this prior to my arrival in September but I do know the facts about what has happened since then. Ronald Johnson has approached me on several occasions with accusations about two school system employees who shared with him claims of sexual harassment. He wanted me to take specific action about these claims. I asked him to have the two females speak with me about the situation and file sexual harassment claims. He said they were not willing to do that and he would not provide me with names of the two females. He stated that he had video and audio that proved the claims. When I asked him to share those with me he refused to do so. This same type discussion happened with Mr. Johnson on three occasions, the last of which was on November 20, 2019. When he asked for that meeting with me I requested that board member Terri Sessoms also be present. The three of us met and Mr. Johnson made the same claims and request again. I again asked for him to encourage the two females to come forward and/or for him to provide me with the evidence he had. He once again refused to do so. Terri Sessoms can and will verify this meeting and the comments made. I will not have my integrity questioned in this matter and I cannot take action against someone for sexual harassment when there has been no evidence presented. Everyone who knows me knows that I will objectively deal with any such allegations.
I do not pretend to understand Ronald Johnson’s objectives with his interview statements. I do know that I intend to do my best between now and the end of June 2020 to bring financial stability to our school system and to rebuild a school system climate of respect and desire for a return to high levels of student academic achievement. Unproven accusations not only are not helpful in these efforts but actually are detrimental and counter-productive. At this time what we need to do is either provide hard evidence of abuses or come together to solve our problems!
In his email Tuesday to JoCoReport, Dr. Causby noted the above statement is from him personally and is not a statement from the Johnston County school system.