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Board of Education hears options on a superintendent search

The Sumter County Board of Education (BOE) set the agenda for September’s voting meeting on Monday, September 7, 2021. All members were present, with Sylvia Roland being present via telephone. The BOE received an overview of  the superintendent hiring process from Bill Sampson who represents The Georgia School Board Association (GSBA). He reviewed the process in which the GSBA can be helpful in recruiting the next Sumter County Schools (SCS) superintendent. The GSBA has assisted SCS with superintendent searches in the past and their most recent placement was in the Gwinnett County School System, which is the largest system in the state. GSBA utilizes several steps to identify the appropriate candidates for the position, included in the presentation were such steps as:

  • A survey the BOE completes with their desired qualifications to include level of education attained (Georgia demands a six-year degree) and past experience. BOE members will complete this individually and anonymously and the GSBA will report back to the BOE what the survey reports.
  • Consideration of strengths and weaknesses of the district
  • To what extent the BOE wants to involve the community in the search. If the BOE so decides, a survey can be opened to the public on what they want the qualifications of the superintendent to be.
  • One BOE member will be the contact person for the GSBA
  • Legal standards to include providing the public with information on the candidates. The information must be available to the public for 14 days prior to the BOE taking a vote on the candidate.
  • Timeline for the search to be completed. Typically, the process will take 3-4 months at minimum.
  • GSBA asks all BOE members to channel any interested applicants to come through a centralized GSBA site in order to not give the appearances of favor.
  • Processing through applications will be done by the GSBA based upon the qualifications established by the BOE. All the applicants are presented to the BOE with an indicator of who has met the most qualifications. This simply serves as a starting point, the BOE still has the decision-making power over who moves on to the next step.
  • GSBA prepares the BOE for the interviewing process to include legal parameters.

The cost for utilizing GSBA to assist in the search is $7500 plus incidentals such as travel. Should the BOE not vote to utilize GSBA, or another recruiting firm, the search will fall directly onto the members. The only legal requirement binding the BOE to the public is posting the candidates for viewing for 14 days prior to voting upon the candidate. However, the BOE has the option to take input from the community if they so choose. The input could be as early as determining the qualifications for the position. The vote will be taken regarding utilizing GSBA on Thursday night, 9.9.21.

Other reports in the meeting included committee recommendations. Finance committee will be presenting their reports Thursday night for approval. Total funds available for day-to-day operations is approximately $1.6 million. To date SCS owes about $5.9 million on the new high school. There is currently about $7.3 million available to make payment. E-SPLOST, which is paying for the new high school, brings in an average of about $350,000 per month. Personnel committee will be presenting 8 items for action. Property committee is recommending the purchase of 5 items all related to grounds keeping. The prices on the equipment range from about $42,000 for the largest tractor, to $3,800 for the least expensive. The property committee is also continuing the research on appropriate supplies which could help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The BOE will also make another vote on extending the mask mandate for those on SCS property as well as review several facility use requests.

The voting meeting will be held this Thursday, September 9, 2021, at 7pm in the administration building on Learning Lane. The meeting, as well as past meetings, can also been seen on the Sumter County Schools Facebook page.