Archived Story

BOE votes to use search service

Published 12:10pm Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Alexander City Board of Education passed in a slim 3-2 vote Tuesday morning to use the Alabama Association of School Boards’ search service while seeking the system’s next superintendent.

Board President David Sturdivant and board members Steve Robinson and Kelly Waldrop voted for the measure, with board members Fred Norris and Michael Ransaw voting against.

Norris and Ransaw both cited financial reasons not to use the service, which will cost $8,500.

“I totally disagree with it,” Norris said. “I can say that money could be better utilized with professional development with our teachers (or) advanced technology.”

Robinson disagreed.

“I’ve been affiliated with these searches for executive positions and senior leadership positions … and in my opinion you get a better search and better candidates when you’re using a professional service,” Robinson said. “In my mind, this decision is that important. Yes, there are other things we could do with the money, but we want the absolute best candidate. Having a set of resources that we can use (to find the most qualified candidate) is worth the money.”

Waldrop and Sturdivant said the money spent should be considered an investment in the community.

“(The $8,500 fee) doesn’t seem quite as large of a figure when you talk about a person who is going to run the whole school system,” Waldrop said. “And just because we open up this search … doesn’t mean internal candidates won’t be considered.”

Sturdivant said he thinks the service will provide a level of expertise to the board in order to help them make the best decision, as the search committee is composed of retired superintendents.

“To me, the question we’re wrestling with in a roundabout way is … how to handle the internal candidates,” Sturdivant said. “That’s a great example of where (the search service is) going to provide leadership – they’ve done it over and over again. To have guidance is important because every school board is different, and I think they’re used to dealing with that.”

The board also approved a trip for the Benjamin Russell High School band to participate in the 2013 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago.

“The band has been working hard toward a goal like this for quite a few years,” said BRHS band director Dale Bloodworth. “Our band parents and all of our organizations and supporting cast are very on board and very excited about it. We haven’t had any organizational meetings … but we feel good about being able to manage the cost of the trip. It will certainly be great exposure for not only our school system but also our community, and we’re very excited about the opportunity.”