School Board Member Previews Agenda at Engineers Club

The Hamilton county school board is planning several meetings this week as it tries to resolve difficult problems left over from 2016.
Longtime board member Rhonda Thurman was invited to speak to the Chattanooga/Hamilton County Engineers club Monday, and she previewed some of the issues that are on the table.

The school board has been struggling with finding a new superintendent. They’re hired a consulting company to look for a replacement for Rick Smith who resigned last year in the wake of the Ooltewah Basketball team abuse incident.

“We’re getting ready to start that process. I just can’t imagine uh how many we’re going to get–that’s going to apply for the job. I really want—I feel like, uh, the idea of a local superintendent—somebody, er, that loves this community, that have chosen to live here, don’t just come here for a job. Uh, that’s what I would like to see,” says Rhonda Thurman, District 1.

Thurman says she wants to avoid the buy-outs that have plagued the district following the tenure of past Superintendents.

She says, “That’s another thing we need to look in the contract. Make sure that if they do things that the board doesn’t approve of, we can get rid of them without having to buy them out.”

The board is meeting with the search firm this week.

Following the crash of that Hamilton county school bus in December that took the lives of 6 children, the board is taking a close look at a new contract for its provider—Durham Student Services.

“Absolutely, yeah, The new contract will look a whole lot different I think , yeah, than the current contract. Uh,like say..sometimes you don’t know you have a problem until you have a problem. So now, we know we have a problem and we have to just trying to really ratchet that end to see exactly what we need to do as a school board…to make sure that, uh, uh, we have put every precaution in place that we can possibly put in…in the new contract,” Thurman says.

Thurman also questions the district’s commitment to magnet schools–which she says enjoy special treatment in the district.

The Hamilton county school board meets again Thursday afternoon for a work session with the superintendent search firm—Coleman Lew and Associates.
That will be followed by the regular meeting at 5.

Categories: Education, Hamilton County, Local News

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