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Decatur School Board to consider change

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, July 14, 2018
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Decatur ISD trustees will consider the reorganization of board officers Monday in their first meeting since recording the 4-3 vote to keep superintendent Judi Whitis on the job last month.

School Board President Wade Watson and Vice President Matt Joiner cast dissenting votes at the June 18 meeting along with trustee Marsha Hafer.

Watson said the reorganization discussion was placed on the agenda at the request of another trustee.

“There are differing views on the board as evidenced by the 4-3 split vote,” Watson said. “If it’s the board’s decision for someone else to be president, I’ll respect the board’s decision.”

The board met in closed session for three hours June 18 to evaluate Whitis and discuss her contract before the 4-3 vote. The meeting was the second long closed session for the board to discuss the issue with a span of two weeks. Trustees met for seven hours June 4-5 in closed session a week after Watson sent Whitis a two-page letter detailing “multiple concerns [that] have been brought to the attention of several [board] members recently.”

Prior to the vote June 18, Board Secretary Cheri Boyd read a statement: “After considering what is in the best interest of Decatur ISD, the majority of the board has expressed its willingness to move forward with Dr. Whitis as our superintendent. Dr. Whitis will work with the board and district stakeholders to address these concerns.”

Boyd, Jennifer Wren, Charlie Tibbels and Rex Hoskins voted to keep Whitis.

Entering Monday’s meeting, Watson said he’s committed to the district, its employees and students. He added that he feels he can still effectively lead the board.

“There are differing views. We have to get back to a reasonable level of communication,” Watson said. “I feel I can lead. But I want to do what’s in the best interest of the district. There’s a lot of good people in this district. My concern is running the district efficiently and doing what’s in the best interest of kids. Kids are going to show up in August and expect a good experience.”

Trustees will also discuss the construction projects at the high school – the bistro and athletic facilities. Whitis said the guaranteed maximum price will not be presented and should be ready for a called meeting soon. Her staff has met with representatives from the architect Claycomb and Associates and the builder Steele and Freeman to trim the cost of the bistro that will be in the high school library.

Trustees will also consider raising lunch prices by 10 cents to $2.70 at the elementary campuses and $2.90 at the secondary campuses.

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