By CARL SMITH
Applications for the vacant Starkville School District superintendent will be accepted by the Mississippi School Board Association from Sept. 12 to Oct. 31 after the school board approved a timetable Tuesday.
The board also unanimously approved another round of public hearings tentatively set for Aug. 11. While the date was not fully approved, the board did set a deadline for the public hearings for Aug 15. SSD officials will soon check the district schedule to determine if the Aug. 11 meeting can proceed without any conflict. MSBA Search Coordinator Harold Fisher will conduct the meetings with the general public, SSD teachers and staff in one day without the presence of school board members. Surveys will be provided to attendees of each meeting and will be accepted by MSBA with full anonymity.
“Members of the public would rather speak to the board than give qualities,” Fisher said. “(Without board members present,) This gives the opportunity to stakeholders to express themselves.”
The anonymous surveys gathered by MSBA from the public hearings will be used in the search itself and also kept and used to provide district and community insight to the new superintendent.
The school board also unanimously approved an advertising strategy during Tuesday’s meeting.
The board approved MSBA to advertise the vacant position with the American Association of School Administrators, the National Alliance of Black School Educators and Education Week, a national publication that covers K-12 education.
Advertising with all three organizations will entail a single 30-day, online job posting and additional job-of-the-week styled options which will increase the advertisements’ exposure. The district also approved to include advertising with Education Week’s e-newsletter. As of May, the advertising strategy selected by the district cost $1,810. Brochures will also be developed for advertising purposes with final approval left to board President Keith Coble.
While the district has set application and hearing dates, it has yet to finalize an applicant criteria for MSBA. Fisher said the board should aim to have all remaining input for the search finalized by Sept. 6 so MSBA can continue with the job posting on Sept. 12.
In other business, the school board unanimously approved the FY 2012 budget and a number of staffing changes dependent on the budget’s passage.
In a previous meeting, the board was one member shy of having a quorum and could not vote on the issue. Members Eddie Myles, Eric Heiselt and Coble were present for the budget vote while Pickett Wilson recused herself from the meeting because of conflict of interest.
The budget passed after debate between Heiselt and Interim Superintendent Beth Sewell on the topic of additional jobs created by the budget.
While Heiselt said he was a data-driven person and encouraged the board to look carefully at how the added positions impact the district and students’ performances, Sewell said the administration didn’t ask for any positions administrators didn’t think would benefit its students.