The Jackson County Board of Education will be allowed to proceed with its interviews Thursday of four candidates for superintendent of the school system.
Judge Joe Booth ruled Wednesday that the BOE could proceed with the interviews after Mainstreet Newspapers sued to stop the process until the names of the final four candidates were released.
But school system lawyers told the judge that the four candidates being interviewed were not the final candidates for the job and that other candidates would also be interviewed. They said the search process for a new superintendent is just starting.
Under a new state law signed by Gov. Nathan Deal last week, full boards are now allowed to interview candidates for such positions.
The BOE is scheduled to interview two candidates Thursday morning and two Thursday afternoon in a conference room at the offices of JEMC in Jefferson.
“While we respect the court’s ruling, we believe the school system was being disingenuous in telling the court that these four candidates are not the finalists,” said co-publisher Mike Buffington. “The board began this process in November and it developed a list of over 36 applications that it narrowed down to four people for interviews. School leaders never indicated that further interviews were being contemplated nor have any other interviews been scheduled. We believe the board’s argument to the judge was misleading and does not really reflect its true intentions.”
The position of superintendent of the system is the highest paying public office in the county at $150,000+. The Jackson County School System is the largest taxing agency in the county and is the largest employer in the county.
“We will continue to pursue getting the finalists names so the public and taxpayers will know who is being considered for this very important position,” Buffington said.