School board to decide on central office positions

Published 9:18 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Selma City School Board will vote today to proceed with restructuring the central office.

The move will mean the loss of four positions.

The cutbacks are necessary due to spending cuts of 12.5 percent for the $6.3 billion state education budget, said superintendent Austin Obasohan.

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“We cannot put 20 people into a seven-passenger car,” Obasohan said. “I want to do this in the most amicable way, the most civil way. Because these people have given so much to the school system.”

Currently, 24 people work at the central office. Some positions will be combined, Obasohan said. He hopes to find jobs within the school system for the four people who are not rehired in the fall. However, nothing is for sure.

“We can promise them fairness and consistency,” he said.

The board is required by law to make sure employees who are tenured remain in the system. However, a tenured employee may be forced to move from the central office to a position somewhere else in the system.

Obasohan and attorney Katy Campbell met with the board Monday night to discuss the legal matters involved with restructuring.

Campbell provided the board with an example of a similar case of restructuring in Lowndes County.

School Board Vice President the Rev. Winston Williams said he wanted to look at concrete examples so he would feel confident in his decision.

“I want to make sure I put my best foot forward to make the decision,” Williams said.

Board member Udo F. Ufomadu said he wants the board do what is right.

“I want to go home and be certain we did this for the interest of the system and children,” he said.

Obasohan said it is important during proration not to take resources away from children.

“That is our priority,” he said.

He also urged the board to vote based on the issue of proration, not based on personal affiliations.

“This is the right thing to do,” Obasohan said. “Let’s make this a common sense decision, not a political decision.”

Obasohan said proration would bring difficult times for employees and students in the Selma City School System. If everyone works together, these challenges will be met, he said.

“I am 100 percent convinced the challenges will come,” Obasohan said. “But they won’t prevail.”