Johnston County taxpayers are already on the hook for nearly $20,000 in legal bills as the school system battles the state retirement system over an even larger bill – nearly $500,000, which the retirement system says it is owed as part of former superintendent Ed Croom’s retirement package.
Lawsuits filed by Johnston County Schools have been dismissed and now the school system will appeal those decisions. Those appeals seem reasonably likely only to increase the amount of money the school system has to pay out to lawyers who will try to make the school system’s case for it.
Johnston County school board members and their advisors either didn’t know what they were doing when they gave Croom his sweetheart deal or they did and they figured no one would ever be the wiser.
Now that it’s clear that bad decisions were made by school system leaders, extending the lawsuits seems to us to be piling more bad decisions on top of others.
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And, while we get that no one wants to be found in the wrong and that there is a tendency to fight until the bitter end, sometimes it’s better to admit your losses, lick your wounds and move on. That’s what Johnston County school leaders need to do now, rather than continuing to do battle with the state.
At the end of the day, we hope the school board will learn its lesson and we hope the public will insist that they be better stewards of the public’s money than they have shown themselves to be with their recent decisions.