Missing were board members Mike Raines, Jeff Burrough and Sonia Waid.
Although Waid was reportedly not able to attend the meeting because of family emergency, Superintendent Vonda Beaty said she suspects the lack of a quorum stems from a dispute over her recommendation for the next principal of Cordova High School, a position being vacated by Jason Adkins, who will begin his first term as the county system’s superintendent in January. Adkins beat Beaty in the June 1 Democratic primary. Adkins has no opponent in the Nov. 2 general election.
Chairman Brad Ingle and school board member Brenda Drummond declined to comment on the reason for the school board members’ absence.
Efforts to reach Raines and Burrough were unsuccessful Thursday evening.
A committee comprised of educators and community members of Cordova selected current assistant principal Kathy Vintson to be the next principal at Cordova High. Vintson also garnered approval from the Cordova High School Board of Trustees for Beaty’s recommendation.
However, Beaty said there were several candidates with more experience on the list of applicants, and she ultimately decided to leave the recommendation up to Adkins after he is sworn into office in January.
“I don’t see anything wrong with that,” she said.
Adkins said Vintson has more than 20 years of experience in the school system.
“It was a very intensive process,” he said. “There were many mechanisms put in place to make sure it wasn’t one sided or channeled in a certain direction. There was a whole lot of discussion about several candidates.”
Beaty said there were several applicants with more advanced degrees and more administrative experience. She said hiring Vintson over those candidates would open the school district up to lawsuits.
Adkins said he is grateful for the board members who allegedly left the meeting in protest.
“I want to say I appreciate the stance the board took in support of the community (of Cordova),” he said.
Beaty called the disagreement “childish” and said she was frustrated because of the long list of items that needed to be handled by the board during the meeting.
Adkins said the students of Cordova High School need a principal before January.
“Whenever there is arbitrary leadership, there is turmoil, dysfunctionalism and a regression toward the means in terms of student progress, which is yet another example of the many things that are about to change about the way the Walker County Board of Education handles business concerning schools communities, employees and students,” Adkins said.
The following is a list of items on the agenda for Thursday afternoon’s meeting:
•Approval of personnel list.
•Five public comments.
•Approval of bids for Internet service, paper and uniforms for maintenance workers.
•Request to add COMPASS Learning Grant to 2011 Budget.
•Approve 20 percent At-Risk Allocation for 2011 Budget.
•Discuss lease of property to City of Carbon Hill.
•Selection of delegates to the Alabama Association of School Boards 2010 convention.