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UnifiEd still not satisfied with school board's buyout vote

UnifiEd

On Monday, the Hamilton County school board voted not to buy out superintendent Rick Smith's contract.

But, one education advocacy group says their fight is not over.

Less than 48 hours after the Hamilton County school board voted not to buyout Rick Smith's contract, a post appeared on UnifiEd's Facebook page.

It's a call to action for the community, urging them to contact their school board members and revisit their decision on Smith, and advocate for the termination of his contract.

"We think that it's time for new leadership in Hamilton County schools," said executive director Elizabeth Crews.

Because Crews says enough is enough.

"From the horrible incident in Ooltewah, to not be in compliance with state law, to our really atrocious bottom of the barrel reading scores - we think that the case could not be more clear for new leadership in Hamilton County schools," she said.

School board members, like Rhonda Thurman, realize the community's concern but, "until he gets ready to resign, it's probably gonna be like it is," she said.

Because Thurman says they can't afford to gamble that much with taxpayer money.

"In order to fire him, he would take us to court and we could very well end up paying the rest of his contract off - which is like what $720,000 plus pay his attorney fees and our attorney fee," Thurman added.

However, Crews says UnifiEd will continue to urge the community to try to spark change.

"The current superintendent was picked without a search process, without community input, pretty much - just installed there. So, we think that this time needs to be different," Crews added.

"Everybody needs to stay in their own lane. You do your job. We'll do our job. And if we all do our jobs, everything will get done," Thurman said.

UnifiEd is planning to hold a meeting soon for the community to talk about what they want to see in a new superintendent.

We'll let you know once that meeting is scheduled.

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