All night meeting ends with dismissal of Superintendent | News
SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Tempers flared, tense words were exchanged, crowds got angry and the police got involved...at a school board meeting. After nearly nine hours of testimony and arguments, the Selma School Board voted to fire Superintendent Dr. Donald Jefferson - but Jefferson says he's not done, and he'll still be reporting to work.
The drama started back in September when Jefferson told the board he signed a contract for STI Achievement Services for the 2010-2011 school year, without board approval, in error. In the same meeting he asked for the contract to be renewed for the next year. The contract was voted down. At the next school board meeting on Thursday, October 13, the board voted in a 3-2 decision to place Jefferson on administrative leave because he entered into a private contract without board approval. The board then scheduled a hearing for October 25 to discuss the future of Jefferson's position as Superintendent.
It was at that hearing that tempers flared.
The meeting was punctuated with constant yelling, finger pointing, disrespectful comments and a seemingly endless banter between the school board and Jefferson's attorney. School Board President Henry Hicks started the meeting off to cheers after he stated he believed Jefferson should keep his job. The the School Board Attorney said Hicks didn't have that authority and Jefferson's future would have to be determined by a vote of the school board.
Two members, including Hicks, walked out of the meeting because they didn't believe Jefferson should be dismissed. The remaining board members heard hours of witness testimony, cross examinations and heckling from the crowd. The meeting ended in the early hours of the morning with the remaining board members voting to fire Jefferson.
Jefferson and his attorney say this still isn't over. They believe the board members who voted to dismiss Jefferson took part in private, illegal meetings and that this entire situation was handled improperly. They will be appealing this decision.
In the meantime, Gerald Shirley, Principal at the Selma School of Discovery, was named Interim Superintendent after Jefferson was placed on administrative leave earlier this month. Jefferson says he will still be returning to work today despite the board's vote to let him go.
Protesters plan to voice their displeasure outside of the Selma School headquarters Wednesday morning.
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