Selma superintendent search begins

Published 1:14 am Wednesday, April 4, 2012

During a two and half hour work session — dominated by heated discussions — the Selma City School Board came to one decision Tuesday; to begin the search for a new superintendent of education.

During the meeting, board members were intensely divided on many of the topics brought up for discussion, with much of the conversation coming back to a contentious decision in October to terminate former superintendent of education Dr. Donald Jefferson’s contract.

“At this point, we need to go ahead and get the ball rolling on the search,” board president Henry Hicks Sr. said following the meeting. “We need to at least go ahead and advertise the opening and then making some other decisions.”

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One of those other decisions referred to by Hicks is that of hiring a firm to help with the superintendent search.

In February, the board heard proposals from three separate search firms, only to decide in March to hold off on any decision until pending litigation by Jefferson was settled.

Last Monday, Circuit Court Judge Jack Meigs ruled against Jefferson in a claim Jefferson and his attorneys had filed saying the board violated the state’s Open Meetings Act when they held meetings and a hearing last October that led to his termination.

Now that that decision has been reached, Hicks said the board needs to move forward. One item pressuring the search is a timeline set forth by the state.

“We have 180 days from the time of termination to find a new superintendent,” Hicks said. “We had asked for an extension from the state a number of months ago because of the litigation and we have not heard back from them yet.”

Hicks said the board couldn’t wait.

“We need to go ahead and operate as if we are not going to get the extension and hope the state understands our circumstances,” he said.

If the board does not get an extension, they could be looking at a deadline of the end of April or early May.