School Board: Superintendent to be selected after 15 days notice - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

School Board: Superintendent to be selected after 15 days notice

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Some cross words and hurt feelings at the Hamilton County School Board, Tuesday night.

In the end, there's new leadership and an open door for a 28 year school system vet to become the next superintendent.

"I think there is are lot of sour grapes right now. And I can't help that," says David Testerman, District 8 Board member.

Those grapes almost split the cask, as a new school board chairman was elected, Mike Evatt. Then his majority passed a revision of board policy, no search will be required.

"People have seen in the national searches we've had that two different school boards have bought out two different contracts of Superintendents," says Joe Galloway, District 6 Board member.

The board can select a new superintendent after 15 days notice, virtually, paving the way for Rick Smith.

"You see the consensus of the board change with new elections.  I've seen it all my career.  So, it's just a matter of a different board and different thinking," says Evatt.

Those outside the consensus did not go quietly.

"This reeks of ignorance.  Lack of thinking through," says Jeffery Wilson, District 5 Board member.

Board members Wilson and George Ricks argued the Smith rule was against policy and the deal had been hatched behind closed doors, leading to this confrontation with Testerman.

"You want me to call names? I can do it.  Don't interrupt me.  I take offense at that.  I want you to take offense if you're one of them," says Ricks, District 4.

Smith says he'll continue going to work. Focusing on tasks at hand, the budget, hiring, re-organizing and let the politics play out as they may.

"I'm not taking it personally.  I think that much of what's being discussed right now is more about the board and not about me," says Smith. 

The changes in school board policy go into effect immediately.

Ricks pledged to work with Smith or whoever ends up being superintendent. Smith says he believes that to be true.

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