By PAUL SIMS
Progress on the search for a new Starkville School District chief executive will wait while the district’s acting superintendent conducts a comprehensive district review.
Board President Pickett Wilson emerged from a 35-minute executive session just after 10 p.m. Tuesday to report the board addressed a student matter and took action on a two-year-old federal lawsuit during the closed session.
Wilson answered questions about the status of the superintendent search, explaining the review process will be an internal analysis of “all of our policies, procedures (and) practices.”
A superintendent search was made necessary when former Superintendent Judy
Couey was first placed on administrative leave by the board on April 20 and then resigned the post April 27 citing health reasons.
When asked what steps officials might take to explain the circumstances surrounding Couey’s departure, Wilson said: “No, the board is not going to be explaining it.”
But Wilson did answer questions about the search process for Couey’s replacement.
“You need to do sort of a post-mortem of where you’ve just been before you can head forward,” Wilson said.
Board members discussed the review process with acting Superintendent Beth Sewell before the conclusion of Tuesday’s open session.
“We need Dr. Sewell’s analysis of where we are before we can move forward,” Wilson said after the meeting.
“We’re going to focus on student achievement,” Wilson said. MCT2 testing will occur May 10-12, where Sewell is placing her attention, the board president said. “She’s wearing two hats,” Wilson said of Sewell, who is not only the acting superintendent but also the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
During the open portion of the meeting, the board agreed to seek bids to either turf or “re-crown” or repair Starkville High School’s existing football field.
The board engaged in a protracted debate over funding the project, at times involving Athletic Director Stan Miller.
Turfing, which officials explained would last over a longer lifespan, and re-crowning, are approximately $650,000 and $225,000 respectively.
“This school district does not have $650,000,” Wilson told Miller. “And I’m saying we will continue to raise money,” Miller responded.
“A bid has to go out,” board member Eddie Myles said.