MPS board members react to criticism, Friday interim superintendent search

MPS board members react to criticism, Friday interim superintendent search
The Montgomery Public School summer feeding program begins Monday for anyone 18-years-old and younger. 

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Members of the Montgomery County Board of Education are set to meet Friday to discuss and interview candidates to serve as interim superintendent for the system. According to MPS, a vote is expected as well.

According to Board Vice-President Dr. Lesa Keith, the board members voted 6-1 to select an interim superintendent a week ago. She said she was the only member to vote against it.

"This is just another attempt of theirs to fight back against the intervention," Keith said.

Interim State Superintendent of Education Dr. Ed Richardson said hiring an interim superintendent would just mean more money coming out of the MPS budget, but it was a board decision, independent of the state. He said if the board wants to do it, then they can.

However, Keith said she was satisfied with the work being done by Dr. Reginald Eggleston, who was placed by the state to serve as the Chief Academic Officer under the state intervention. On top of having to pay a salary, Keith is concerned it won't be worth it, because whoever is selected will still have to answer to the state.

She also does not like the turn around and lack of transparency in the process.

"Only having three candidates, one week to make a decision and then having the resumes brought to the meeting before the interviews?" Keith asked. "I'm questioning the entire process."

Board member Durden Dean also expressed concern over the short time frame and small pool of candidates. He said he will not be pressured into selecting someone he does not consider to be a strong candidate.

WSFA 12 News was made aware of two candidates by a member of the board, but we were told a third candidate could potentially be added to the process. We still don't have information on that candidate.

Meanwhile, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange held a press conference Thursday where he encouraged community members to run for the five board seats that will be vacated this year.

Keith said she stands by the mayors point and involvement.

"It's high time we get a board that can make decisions that support achievement," Keith said.

She said she is willing to step aside if residents in her district feel there is someone better suited for the job. Meanwhile Mary Briers, one of the two members whose term does not end this year, said the mayor is out of line.

"The mayor needs to stay in his lane and let the people run who want to run. He needs to redirect is energy from the school board and focus on the crime in Montgomery," Briers said in a statement.

As the board prepares to meet concerning an interim superintendent Friday, big changes also loom in the near future. A feasibility study on whether the system is able to close schools is due out next week, according to Dr. Richardson. Dr. Richardson will also announce his plan, which he said will include major changes, on Jan. 26.

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