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Motion to oust superintendent, board chair fails Featured

At Thursday's meeting of the North Bolivar Consolidated School District, board member William H. Lucas made a motion that took many by surprise. As soon as the invocation had been said and the board members had approved the agenda for the evening Lucas called for the immediate resignation of Superintendent Maurice Smith and board chairman Jefferick Butler. "I would like to make the following secondary motion which takes priority over all other motions to be acted upon by this board and I further request that this motion be spread upon the minutes," Lucas began. Lucas went on to claim that; "They are both serving illegally, in violation of Mississippi Code Law 37-17-13, by virtue of them both having served in these same positions when the former North Bolivar School District was taken over in conservatorship by the Mississippi Department of Education." He further asserted that, "Mr. Jefferick Butler shall be prohibited and shall abstain from voting on any matter coming before this board tonight and from this day forward" and also that "Mr. Maurice Smith be prohibited from making any recommendations to this board and carrying out any other functions duly assigned to a school superintendent tonight and from this day forward." Board member John Coleman seconded the motion, but it was promptly defeated in a three to two vote with Tyrone Miller and Jacqueline Allen as well as Butler himself voting against the motion. The statute to which Lucas was referring covers the, "Abolition of school districts declared to be in a state of emergency; powers of the board of education with regard to such school districts; reconstitution, etc., of districts." JFK United referenced the same statute in their suit against the district regarding the merging of the districts two high schools. In that case, the judge ruled that: "If the school had in fact been abolished by the Department of Education and evidence had been presented to show that they (Smith and Butler) in fact served under the abolished school district, statutorily, they would be unable to serve currently. In 2012, the State Board of Education consolidated six districts in Bolivar County, one such district being the North Bolivar Consolidated School District compromised of North Bolivar School District and the Mound Bayou Public School District. Nowhere in the statute does it refer to abolished school districts, instead it prescribes consolidating six districts into three. It further states that and School Board member and or superintendent shall be eligible for election and reappointment to either North Bolivar or West Bolivar Consolidated School Districts. There was no evidence presented that anyone appealed either Maurice Smith or Jefferick Butler's position on the school board or position as superintendent North Bolivar Consolidated School District to the Mississippi Board of Education or the State Department of Education's office." After the motion was defeated, the routine business of the board was carried out. The next board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at Broad Street High School.

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