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Wilson confirms SSD’s Couey on indefinite ‘leave’

April 21, 2011


The Starkville School Board declined to make public actions taken in a Wednesday executive session called to discuss “a personnel matter” in a special called meeting - but said that Superintendent Judy Couey “is still the superintendent.”
“She (Couey) has taken a leave of absence,” said School Board president Pickett Wilson. Asked when that leave would be completed, Wilson said she “did not know when she (Couey) would be back.”
Wilson said that she could not provide specific information on the matters discussed or actions taken in the executive session - nor would she discuss why she said Couey took the leave.
“Under the advise of School Board attorney Dolton McAlphin, our position is that our board speaks through our minutes and until those minutes are approved, the board has taken no action,” Wilson said.
Couey, contacted twice Thursday night by The Starkville Daily News for comment, would not speak to the newspaper.
State law requires that public bodies enter executive session only by a public vote after the reason for shutting out the public is stated and a public vote taken. The board complied with that requirement.
But in most instances, public bodies report any actions taken while in executive session after exiting that closed session and reentering open session.
Wilson said that the board’s minutes from the executive session would be read at the regularly scheduled board meeting on May 3 at 6 p.m. at the Greensboro Center.
State law allows public boards 30 days to formulate and publish their officials minutes, but requires that the public be allowed to view “draft” minutes within 14 days or the notes from which the minutes are to be compiled, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Couey came to the SSD from a post at the State Department of Education. She formerly served as SSD’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Delta State University in biology, natural sciences and education.

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