Wayne Superintendent Resigns After Disclosing $4.8M Budget Deficit

Dr. Michael Dunsmore resigned Wednesday night as superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools.

GOLDSBORO – Late-Wednesday, Dr. Michael J. Dunsmore resigned his position as superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools.  Dunsmore had served as superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools since July 2015.

The resignation comes just a day after a school board meeting during which he reportedly told the Board of Education the school system was broke and they would need an emergency bailout from Wayne County Commissioners.  His resignation was effective immediately.

Following Dunsmore’s resignation, the Board unanimously approved the hiring of retired Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) superintendent Dr. Jim Merrill to serve as the acting superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools. He will serve in this role from June 4 through June 26 and then become Interim Superintendent effective June 27.

The hiring of Dr. Merrill comes on the heels of comments made during Tuesday’s meeting by Dr. Dunsmore that the school district’s current local fund balance has a deficit of $4,888,647 and that Wayne County Schools will need assistance from the County of Wayne to cover the cost of local supplements in June.

Dr. Jim Merrill

In addition to hiring Dr. Merrill on Wednesday evening, the Board of Education also approved a contract for financial advisory and consulting services with School Operations Specialists, LLC. The consulting team will thoroughly review the operations of the WCPS Finance Department and provide technical support to the finance staff in closing out the fiscal year and making final budget amendments for the current 2019-2020 budget.

Dr. Merrill is a two-time North Carolina Superintendent of the Year, achieving this distinction in both 2005 and 2017. He was the Virginia State Superintendent of the Year in 2013 and was a national finalist in the National Superintendent of the Year program in 2017. He was also a North Carolina Governor’s Appointee to the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission.