COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Is the search for a new Columbus City Schools superintendent over?
With only two men left in the running, Akron City Schools Superintendent David W. James withdrew his name from consideration on Wednesday. Only Columbus interim Superintendent Dr. John Stanford remains.
“Not long after I announced to our Board and the community that I was being considered for the position, our school board urged me to reconsider. Many of our wonderful families, employees, stakeholders, business partners and my senior staff graciously told me they value my leadership. They feel Akron Public Schools is in good hands and would remain so if l were to stay. I treasure those sentiments,” James wrote.
A Wednesday school board meeting was about dealing with a revised $18 million budget shortfall, but much of the talk among the crowd was if Dr. Stanford would be named the new superintendent? Some think the district can stop looking.
“The search is over as far as the NAACP is concerned,” said NAACP President of the Columbus branch, Nana Watson. “We have sent letters to the school board members saying this is the gentleman that we want to lead our district, to take it to another level.”
Watson said Dr. Stanford represents the people of the district.
“We believe that our children need to see someone of color someone that looks like them,” she said.
Board Vice President Michael Cole said in his short tenure as interim superintendent Dr. Stanford has proven himself.
“I think he’s done an outstanding job to show that he has what it takes to be a superintendent,” said Cole.
He said all options, including potentially re-opening the search, are still on the table.
“I’m quite open to what the possibilities are here for leadership in the district. We want the best person to lead our district.”
The school board met Wednesday night about the superintendent position, but no decision was made. As far as the budget, the district has revised its proposed layoffs from 163 to 61, saving dozens of teaching and counselor positions, among others.
In the recently passed levy, the district promised to create 324 new positions. It said its already created more than 140 of those jobs. It said none of the proposed layoffs will impact those positions. Under the new budget proposal, the rest of the promised 180 positions wouldn’t be created until 2021.