Interim leader hired

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2011

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams School Board voted Thursday to hire Joyce J. Johnson as interim superintendent for six months starting July 1, the day after Anthony Morris’ contract ends.

If the board decides — pending an ongoing hearing — to keep Morris on as superintendent, Johnson can choose to either be released from her contract or fill another position with the district until December, board attorney Bruce Kuehnle said.

The board met Thursday morning to discuss the interim position and other issues after recessing their June 9 meeting.

Email newsletter signup

Johnson — a retired NASD employee — most recently served as director of curriculum and instruction for the district. She has also worked for NASD in other capacities, including teacher, assistant principal, principal and interim assistant superintendent, board President Harold Barnett said.

“(Johnson has a) variety of experience in the district from classroom teacher, to principal, to central office,” Barnett said.

June 23 is the fifth day of a hearing Morris requested after the board voted at its Jan. 20 meeting not to renew his contract, which expires June 30 of this year.

Kuehnle said it is the right of Morris, like any licensed employee of the state, to request a hearing urging reconsideration of the termination of his contract.

Even if the hearing portion of the proceedings concludes next week, Kuehnle said Morris’ contract will expire before the board can convene to make a decision.

The board decision will be based on a transcript composed by a court reporter, which will not likely be prepared before the end of the month, Kuehnle said.

Morris’ contract will expire June 30, and if the board decides, as a result of the hearing, to renew his contract, he will resume his duties after the board makes their decision.

“Because the (superintendent) decision (will not be) made by July 1, the board had to put in place a person to serve (in the interim) as a practical matter,” Kuehnle said.

Later Thursday, Morris met with members of the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission to discuss expenses the school district might incur to maintain a proposed swimming pool on school property.

The board directed the administration at a previous meeting to meet with the commission and gain more insight into the proposed funding of the pool maintenance.

According to a summary of the pool operation cost estimates, maintaining a junior Olympic sized swimming pool on school property would cost the district $79,750.

Of the total cost, $36,450 would pay a year’s worth of wages for lifeguards earning minimum wage for nine-hour days, six days a week for six months.

The hours, days a week and months of pool operation were subject to change, commission member Bubba Kaiser said.

Labor at the concession stand, which the commission said could also serve the soccer fields, would cost an estimated $24,300 a year.

Electricity would cost an estimated $5,000 a year.

Chemicals would cost an estimated $9,000 a year, with $1,500 being spent each month the pool would be in operation.

Miscellaneous costs, such as the cost of garbage dumps, were estimated to cost $5,000.

The commission also estimated revenues for the pool, which vary depending on the amount of traffic. Suggested rates were approximately $5 for an individual daily pass, $10 for a family daily pass, $35 for an individual season pass and $65 for a family season pass. For special events, the commission estimated the pool would generate between $120 and $150 for groups with less than 50 swimmers.

The proposed pool would be 25 meters long, six lanes wide, six-feet deep and hold 88,000 gallons of water, Kaiser said.

Morris asked the commission to include the price of liability insurance for the pool, to which the commission agreed to do.