Although advertised as a tribunal on a student matter, the Jackson County Board of Education’s Wednesday evening meeting instead brought the resignation of Dr. John Green after a brief closing session to discuss personnel.
Members of the central office staff were in a luncheon meeting on Thursday and unavailable for comment.
Board member Michael Cronic’s motion to accept Green’s resignation was unanimously approved without discussion.
In his letter of resignation effective Thursday, Green offered to assist the system through June 30 and then continue his retirement.
Educators had been keeping a watchful eye in hopes that the retirement law would change to allow for receipt of full retirement benefits for administrators if they returned to full-time employment. Since that discussion did not get legislative legs, Board of Education Chairman Lynne Massey-Wheeler said Dr. Green was prompted to make the best decision for his family.
“We do appreciate all the good things he did for Jackson County and wish him well as he continues his retirement,” Wheeler said.
Green indicated he was pleased with the direction the school system was heading but said much work remained.
“The district is focused on improvement initiatives that will yield positive results for students and teachers,” said Green, who has been focused on addressing the system’s budget concerns, primarily personnel costs. Through attribution and adjusting personnel into what he called more appropriate positions, he has said he hoped to bring the budget in line.
At the May 9 work session, a planning document was handed out for the proposed budget for Fiscal Years 2013, 2014 and 2015 showed that the system would be in the red with no reserves unless additional steps were taken to reduce expenditures. Green suggested seven teacher furlough days and 15 furlough days for the 240-day personnel which he referred to as the leadership.
While $4 million had been shaved from this year’s budget, Green said it was “not enough.” He said the system is “overcommitted.”
Wheeler said Friday that some tough decisions are ahead.
“We’ve got some challenges we have to face,” said Wheeler, relating to the $1.7 million shortfall the system is facing for next year. “We’ve been asked if we will we go ahead with the proposal. That plan has been voted on so we’ll follow-through with that.”
According to Wheeler, the school board will convene on Monday in a 7 p.m. session to appoint an interim superintendent.
She suggests that having an interim superintendent could be a means of finding some monetary savings. “We’ve got to do everything we can to break even but we’ll look forward and keep moving ahead. Change is hard for all of us and we are in a different economy than we have ever faced – at least in my lifetime.”
Wheeler expressed appreciation for the financial guidance the system is receiving from Assistant Superintendent for Operational Support Jamie Hitzges and Director of Finance Betty Varnadore.
“Thank heavens we have them,” said Wheeler. “They have guided us well in the past and we’ll look to them in these challenging days ahead.”
Wheeler also stresses the value of the system’s teachers.
“We have some great educators,” said Wheeler. “We are blessed in Jackson County. We have to take care of the kids. That is our No. 1 goal.”