To search or not to search? That’s the question that members of the Carroll County School Board are facing. Should they keep Superintendent Billy Joe Ferguson and not open up a search or open the search and have Ferguson, along with others, apply for the position of Superintendent.
School board members met Tuesday night at the Carroll County School Board office. Board members went into executive session to discuss Ferguson and what he’d accomplished for far. Before they did, Ferguson wanted to leave them with a few words.
He talked about the work he’d done in the school district as a coach, a principal and serving five terms as superintendent.
“Before we built J.Z. George, there were nothing there,” he said.
Ferguson said he made the decision to consolidate J.Z. George and Vaiden High Schools in the 90s before the legislature began closing many of the smaller schools around.
“It was my decision. and I admit it,” he said. “And I took some flack for it. I’m from Vaiden, I worked there. But, we see now what happened in Winona and Montgomery County and all these other smaller schools that are closing now. Had we waited to do it now, instead of doing it then, it would cost us a lot of money. Now we have a new buildings, we have a nice gymnasium, we have 5 vocational classes.”
He said he knows the test scores aren’t where they need to be but he’s confident in the children of Carroll County. Ferguson also added that he believes that he’s the people’s choice.
“If it was an election, I believe that I’d get 75 percent of the vote,” Ferguson said. “If you all choose me, I’d be honored but if not, I’ll walk away and it’s fine. I try to do the Christian thing and live the right way. I consider myself a missionary and I’m doing the work of the Lord.
The biggest question is can Ferguson serve as a full-time superintendent, even though he’s retired. Ferguson and Board Attorney Lori Bell both said that they spoke with officials in Jackson and it’s their understanding that Ferguson could serve as a full-time superintendent.
“I serve as one now,” Ferguson said. “I don’t make what a full-time superintendent makes, I make $21,000; that’s all I make. But I am eligible to apply for this job and I can serve full-time.”
Ferguson told him why he believes he’s the perfect choice. “I don’t think you’re going to find anyone better for the job, than me,” he said.
Bell told members that before they decided how they were going to search, they first had to decide if they were going to keep Ferguson.
“I say, let’s open it up and let him apply for the job just like everybody else,” Board president Kenneth DeLoach said.
Board member Donnie Wiltshire made a motion to go into executive session to discuss Ferguson.
After closing the meeting and deliberating for almost two hours, Bell said the board decided to seek other avenues for a superintendent search.