Troy schools to advertise interim post

Published 6:37 am Friday, February 11, 2011

The Troy City Schools Board of Education took two important steps on Thursday: approving the advertisement for an interim superintendent and approving the issuing of $15 million in bonds.

Board members recently learned they must advertise and post the opening for a temporary superintendent to fill the position being vacated by Dr. Linda Felton-Smith on March 1.

“As a result of legislation passed last year … and on the legal guidance of our attorney, it’s recommended that you need to post this position so that all actions taken during that time will be official,” Felton-Smith said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The board granted her authority to develop the advertisement for the temporary superintendent, who will serve from approximately March 15 until a full-time replacement is hired, most likely in June or July.

Board members will review the qualifications for the interim superintendent, but Felton-Smith said top priorities are administrative certification and administrative experience. Salary was not discussed, but Kitchens said the position would be available to those inside the system as well as external candidates.

“This (temporary) person is going to have to be working on the 2012 budget and staffing needs for the 2011-2012 school year,” Felton-Smith said.

Meanwhile, board members will continue the search for a new superintendent to replace Felton-Smith, who is moving to a consultant position until her contract ends in June 20012.

“We expect the search (for a new superintendent) to take approximately 120 days,” said Roxie Kitchens, board president. “We’re going to have to decide if we’re going to work with a search firm, and we could vote on that as early as our regular meeting on Monday.”

In another key move, board members decided to go ahead and issue the much-discussed capital improvement bonds. Board members voted in the fall to authorize the issuing of $15 million in bonds, to be used in part to refinance existing debt and to generate cash for capital improvement projects.

However, because the school system was not able to get its bond rating in time to move during December, interest rates have increased from 4.5 percent to 5.6 percent, increasing the debt service on the bonds significantly.

The attorney working with the board suggested last week that members decide whether or not they want to move in the market now or take the chance that interest rates could drop.

“If we delay any longer, rates are probably going to go up,” Kitchens said.

Dr. Judson Edwards, vice president of the board, advocated moving now to issue the bonds. “Basically we have a $20 million budget and we’re looking at a debt service of $1.5 million,” he said. “That’s only 7 percent of your budget dedicated to debt service …I think surrounding school system are much higher, like Enterprise which is somewhere around 20 percent.”

Eva Green, the only board member to vote against issue the bonds for $15 million raised concerns about the amount of cash being borrowed.

“We should think about whether we’re going to go ahead and get all that $15 million,” she said. “It’s not like we’ve got to have that middle school.”