Lee seeks principal job in Concordia

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 31, 1999

VIDALIA, La. – James Lee said Thursday that he still has tenure as a principal in the Concordia Parish School District and is waiting for the district to tell him where he will be placed for the school year that starts Aug. 12.

That is despite the fact that the School Board on June 1 voted 5-4 to oust Lee as superintendent. The board has refused to make public its reasons for doing so.

“If I had done something wrong (to be voted out) I would be ashamed &110; but I haven’t, so I’ll hold my head high,” Lee said.

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Currently, the district does not have any unfilled principals’ positions, said Interim Superintendent Pete Peterman, who had no other comment. Even so, Lee said he intends to claim a position with at least the same “rank, pay and dignity” as a principal’s position.

And if he does not receive a letter offering him such a position, Lee said he will then discuss the situation with his attorney, Jon Guice of Monroe, to decide his legal options.

In a related matter, Lee also said the board did not give him enough notice of its decision to vote him out as superintendent.

Under Lee’s latest contract, which expired June 30, if the board failed to notify Lee by its March meeting of its intent not to renew his contract, that contract would be extended for one year.

The board voted Feb. 2 not to renew Lee’s contract as written and on April 6 voted not to offer him a contract at all. That vote was later found to be illegal because the matter had not been added to the meeting agenda before the vote.

Since that vote was after the March deadline, Lee said “there is some question” whether his contract was automatically extended for one year despite the board’s June vote.

Lee said he will discuss that question with Guice and decide within the next two weeks what legal action he will take regarding the superintendent’s position.

School board President Mike Grantham has no comment.

Meanwhile, the district is conducting its search for a new superintendent. It has advertised for candidates in the Concordia Sentinel and all of Louisiana’s metropolitan newspapers and has sent notices to districts throughout Louisiana.

The last day to submit applications for the position is Aug. 27. So far, only Peterman, who has worked for the system for more than 25 years, has applied.