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Board closer to finalizing search

By Trina Trice

The school board could officially solicit the services of the Georgia School Board's Associations in its superintendent search and policy review.

The Clayton County Board of Education is discussing and possibly voting on using the GSBA in the review and updating of its policies and for re-launching its national superintendent search.

The board voted unanimously to begin negotiations with GSBA for its national superintendent search at a called meeting in July in an attempt to follow the recommendation of Dr. Charles Gibson, parliamentarian for GSBA.

The board met Gibson during a two-day retreat with GSBA. Gibson offered his services for free because he felt the board could not move forward until it broke the "gridlock" it faced in the search process.

Gibson told the board it would definitely need to start its search for a superintendent from scratch.

The board invited Gibson to review what it had done since it began the search in April.

"There were so many flaws in the search process," Gibson told the board. "It is my opinion that you should reopen your search for a national superintendent."

The many changes to the search process damaged the confidence the public had in the school board, Gibson said.

The interviews four board members conducted at a hotel in College Park in May were awkward, Gibson said.

Board members interviewed eight candidates for 30 minutes each which was a problem, Gibson told the board.

Board members Linda Crummy, Barbara Wells, Ericka Davis, and Dr. Bob Livingston were pleased to hear Gibson's request, as the four were strong proponents of restarting the superintendent search.

The four were so passionate about having a new search that they walked out on the July 8 meeting; their protest was caught on tape and aired on the school system's cable Channel 24, as all regularly scheduled board meetings are since a new policy was enacted in June.

The videotape has been the source of controversy, though, when Board Chairwoman Nedra Ware and Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens sent a memorandum to Jackie Hubbert, assistant superintendent of Area 1 schools, ordering her to stop the airing of the July 8 meeting. Hubbert was heading the school system while Chavis and acting Deputy Superintendent Bill Horton attended the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders Conference on Jekyll Island.

Ware contended that the airing of the meeting violated policy because it showed more than "business portions" of the meeting.

Livingston argued that the videotape had been edited nportions of the participation of visitors was removed ? something the policy does not allow.

The policy states that regular business meetings of the board will be videotaped and periodically broadcast on the district's public access cable channel.

Board Attorney Gary Sams is currently looking into policy.

In other business:

* The board could approve the adoption of GSBA Standards, suggested principles of good practice that seek to improve the effectiveness of school board governance.

* The board could decide how it will implement the Senate Bill 29 which gives school boards the authority to decide whether or not students can carry cell phones and pagers in school.

Cell phone use can be disruptive in the classroom, Ware said.

Currently, schools do not allow students to carry cell phones, according to Jerry Jackson, acting Public Relations coordinator. Students caught with cell phones will have the confiscated during school hours.

* The board plans to vote on the assignment of an assistant principal at Pointe South Middle School.