CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce has sent an open letter to the Hamilton County Board of Education encouraging board members to conduct a nationwide search for a new superintendent.

In the letter, sent Wednesday to the school board, the Chamber asks the school district to "cast a wide net in searching for a new Superintendent".

The Chamber says that while it understands the appeal of a local candidate to replace Dr. Jim Scales, a national candidate would "bring a fresh perspective to the educational issues that have been a continuous challenge for our community."

Chamber president Tom Edd Wilson adds, "a number of success stories from across the U.S. have shown that non-traditional school leaders can achieve impressive results."

Wilson writes that the Chamber has a vested interest in the schools and its leadership. "Our members depend on Hamilton County Schools to produce graduates that will help their companies compete in the global marketplace."

The Hamilton County Board of Education is expected to offer Superintendent Dr. Jim Scales a buyout of his contract at a specially-called meeting scheduled for Thursday evening.