Today the Mobile County school board is set to pick three finalists for the vacant superintendent position. The three chosen will be summoned for interviews on March 26th and 27th. A vote will be held on March 30th to determine who gets the job. This is the second time the board has attempted to fill the position. Failure to do so within 180 days of the previous superintendent leaving will force the state to pick a superintendent for them.
Former superintendent Roy Nichols retired in December. Martha Peek is currently the interim superintendent. Whoever gets the job will inherit a messy situation where three cities have fled the system in the past few years. Saraland, Satsuma, and Chickasaw all left the Mobile County Public School System in order to form their own school systems. Satsuma is currently negotiating the final details of its separation from Mobile County.
The Mobile County system is the largest in Alabama. It has faced funding problems in the past that are only going to grow in the coming years as education funding is slashed by the state. It has a messy situation to deal with in regards to the Satsuma situation as children from Creola and Axis may be cut off from schools they planned to attend. Those children could be bused off to far away schools.
Eugene White is reported to be one of the candidates for the position. The Alabama native has been superintendent of a school system in Indiana for a few years now. He was voted superintendent of the year twice. On the flip side, four of his schools have been taken over by the state. The Indianapolis Star reports that there is some turmoil in his school system.
Ultimately the best idea for Mobile County might be to break up the large public school system and have more localized control like Saraland, Satsuma, and Chickasaw are planning to do. The plan seems to be working well in Saraland. Localized control of schools within the town has a better chance of keeping people satisfied with leadership. Rather than fight the wave of defections, perhaps Mobile County should start promoting it.
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