Names will be released

By Trina Trice

In response to an open records request from the News Daily, Clayton County school system administrators say they will release the names of the final candidates for school superintendent.

Their decision came on the same day that the board decided to hire Atlanta-based Paramount Security, a company that will perform reference checks on the 10 applicants the school board is considering for superintendent.

Just a week ago the board was considering choosing four final candidates, instead of three, in order to avoid releasing the names of those finalists.

Georgia law states the school board would have to release the names of the top three candidates 14 days prior to the appointment of the superintendent.

In a letter sent to the News Daily signed by Bill Horton, acting deputy superintendent, was the following statement: "We do not at this time have the names of the final candidates for the position of Superintendent of Clayton County Schools. When these come into our possession, we will supply the name or names to you 14 days prior to the final selection as required by law."

The superintendent search is still under way. The board discussed hiring a consultant to help with its search, because of time and confidentiality concerns.

Board Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens said concerning the board's Tuesday called meeting, "Once we heard from" Ed Scott, assistant superintendent of personnel, and Andre Cherry, personnel review officer, "we realized the Personnel Department couldn't really handle the background investigation" on the superintendent applicants.

Board member Barbara Wells recommended a retired employee from the Atlanta Metropolitan Regional Educational Service Agency, saying, "I think he has the expertise in the investigation of superintendent" candidates.

Wells told board members the retired employee would complete the investigation of the 10 applicants by June 1.

But Paramount won out due to its promise to quickly complete the investigations of all 10 applicants at the cost of $150 per applicant.

"They said they can get all of these people searched and get back to us in two or three days," Kitchens said.

Board member Carol Kellam expressed some concern about Paramount's failure to provide a proposal by the deadline requested. She asked Kitchens whether or not she was comfortable with Paramount's ability to fulfill its promise of a two- to three-day turnaround on the investigations.

Kitchens said she was comfortable, and board Chairwoman Nedra Ware gave her support for Paramount, as well.

The vote to approve the contract with Paramount was unanimous.

Board members Dr. Bob Livingston and Linda Crummy did not attend the called meeting.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to approve an $83,205 contract with CMC Landscaping of Stockbridge, a company that will re-sod Tara Stadium and put in a new irrigation system.

Because of the repair, high school graduations normally held at the stadium have been moved elsewhere, some to Twelve Oaks Stadium near Lovejoy High School.

Board members voted unanimously to approve a $78,800 contract with Baldwin Paving Co. to repair the bus maintenance parking lot near Jonesboro High School.

The parking lot was built over an old landfill, which has been continuously collapsing, said John Ramage, assistant superintendent of facilities and maintenance.

The board adjourned the meeting before going into executive session.