Can the MCSD afford proposed interim superintendent?

By the end of July, Muscogee County Superintendent Susan Andrews will be officially retire and leaving her position open. As she prepares to leave her seat, the school board is discussing bringing in former Superintendent John Phillips to fill it.

Muscogee County School Board Chair Cathy Williams said, "I think in better times that is a viable alternative, but when you are in a period of austerity like we are, and every single penny counts, I think it makes more fiscal sense to look within first."

But who in the school system could take the job? Some would suggest an assistant superintendent, but Williams says that is not an option, "When Dr. Andrews came in we eliminated that position, so we don't necessarily have an assistant or a deputy, but we have very talented people in the cabinet and I know there is at least one person who would be willing to step up."

Phillips' possible compensation for the job has only been discussed in closed door meetings, so figures cannot be shared with the media. But with the district facing budget cuts, can they even afford John Phillips?

Williams explained, "Anything over $1 is probably more than we can afford, so whoever steps into that position, if the board were to decide to promote from the inside, would have to be compensated for the additional duties. But that wouldn't be anything near as much as it would to bring someone in from the outside."

Williams says because John Phillips is in the retirement system, he can only devote three months full-time and then has to go part-time, which is another reason Williams supports an internal promotion, "Susan [Andrews] is an excellent superintendent. She is leaving us in an excellent position. The next person sitting in that seat, whether it's from the inside or the outside, will be able to pick up the ball and run with it easily."

The Muscogee County School Board has two upcoming meetings and a final decision on whether to promote from within or hire someone from the outside to act as interim superintendent will be made during one of those meetings.

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