By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
Starkville School District stakeholders will get their first glimpse at the finalists for the district’s vacant superintendent position tonight during a public forum at Starkville High School.
Lewis Holloway, superintendent of Bulloch County, Ga.; Michael McInnis, superintendent of Union City School District; and Michael Van Winkle, assistant superintendent of Jackson County School District, were named finalists by the Starkville School District Board of Trustees last week.
“We really want to encourage the public to attend and give us their honest opinions of the candidates,” school board President Keith Coble said.
The school board wanted to give the public a chance to hear directly from the candidates and interact with them on a personal level before a decision is made. Each candidate will be given approximately 15 minutes to give a presentation and will be asked questions submitted by SSD stakeholders.
After the forum, the Starkville Foundation for Public Education, Parents for Public Schools and PTA will sponsor reception in the SHS library.
Those who attend the forum will be given feedback forms which will aid the board in its final decision. Coble said the board hopes to meet as soon as possible this week to review the forms and name a preferred candidate.
Prior to the forum, the school board will hold its regular February meeting at 4 p.m. at the Greensboro Center.
Comptroller Rob Logan will update the board on the district’s financial corrective action plan and the status of the 2010 fiscal year audit.
Over the last few months, the district has taken strides to improve financial records and get up-to-date on financial audits, which were backed up for several years due to communication issues between the district and the accounting firms and understaffing within the SSD finance department.
The 2009 fiscal year audit revealed some minor issues but the board vowed to have all the issues cleared up before a new superintendent took office. Coble said he expects to have the exit conference with the firm that conducted the 2010 fiscal year audit soon.
The board will also hear from Regina Weeks, the SHS choral music director, regarding funding for an upcoming trip. Weeks submitted a request to the board several months ago asking for the district to cover one-third of the cost for several students who will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in the spring — approximately $8,550. The board denied the request because it has a limited yearly budget devoted to student travel.
The request prompted board members to ask Interim Superintendent Beth Sewell to draft guidelines for the board in regard to approving funding for student travel.