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SSD superintendent search nets 23 applicants

November 7, 2011

By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
sdnedu@bellsouth.net

The Starkville School District Board of Trustees will discuss the ongoing superintendent search at its regular meeting Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at the Greensboro Center.
Board president Keith Coble said the district received 23 applicants from 8 states for the superintendent position. The Mississippi School Board Association will handle the initial interviews and checking of references for the applicants.
MSBA will submit a report on all of the applicants to the board, at which time the board will decide who they would like to interview.
Judy Couey resigned from the position in April, citing her health as the reason she could no longer fulfill her duties. Beth Sewell has been filling in as interim superintendent ever since.
Sewell will give the board an update on student achievement, and student and teacher attendance for the first quarter of the school year, which is a process Coble said they would like to continue from now on.
“As we begin this process of getting those reports from the superintendent, it will give us a better idea about where we stand,” Coble said. “What Dr. Sewell is trying to do is give us a report on our progress on a quarterly basis. I think it’ll be a real positive step forward and in the right direction.”
The board will also hear from comptroller Rob Logan regarding the corrective action plan that will hopefully prevent delays in future annual audits.
The 2009 fiscal year audit was so delayed that the board could not hold an exit conference with the firm that handled the audit until September of this year. In normal circumstances, the exit conference would have been handled within a few months of the close a fiscal year, but the 2008 audit was delayed as well.
The auditing firm recommended the board re-evaluate the responsibilities Logan had taken on and Logan agreed, saying that due to understaffing, he had taken on too much. The firm representative also said the communication between the firm, board and superintendent was not what it should have been and it led to further delays.
During the exit conference meeting in September, Logan said he hoped to hire a new employee as soon as possible to help manage the responsibilities.
A new firm, Fortenberry and Ballard, is handling the 2010 and 2011 fiscal year audits, and the exit conferences for both have been scheduled for January, which will put the district back on track.
Coble said he wanted the district to be in impeccable financial shape before the new superintendent was hired.

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