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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Acting superintendent says district budget must be reduced by "multi-millions of dollars."
  • Five candidates have applied to take over as the Bibb interim superintendent; an interim should be in place by May 1.
  • The board issued a censure statement about an unknown member who gave confidential information to local media.

The Bibb County School District may have to downsize staff for next year due to budget issues, acting superintendent Susanne Griffin-Ziebart said at a called school board meeting Monday night.

"One of the things that we know is that we have multi-millions of dollars that we need to reduce," she said, "and about 89 percent of our general fund is in salaries and benefits of our staff, so it will be very difficult for us to meet that mark and not be affecting staffing and programming."

Griffin-Ziebart would not comment on how many employees could lose their jobs.

She says the district's debt stems from increases in healthcare and retirement costs and decreases in state and federal funds.

The school board will hear an initial finance report next week and will start crunching the numbers before the budget is due on June 30.

At that same meeting, acting board president Sue Sipe said, so far, five people have put their names in the hat to take over as the Bibb interim superintendent.

Two of them served as superintendents in other districts, two worked as school principals, and another as an assistant superintendent.

Only one of those candidates lives in Georgia. The others are from Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, and Maryland.

Names of the candidates will not be released to board members until after the application deadline, which is Friday.

Last week, the board set a goal to have an interim in place by May1.

In the search for the permanent superintendent, the Georgia School Board Association compiled a list of qualifications from board members.

They hope to have the job posted by April 24, with applications due by May 31.

The board will discuss that timeline at its next scheduled meeting on Thursday.

According to acting board president Sue Sipe, the GSBA estimates Bibb Schools could have a new leader by the start of the next school year.

But before the district names a temporary or permanent leader, board member Wanda West says there's a need for some housekeeping.

She says, "This board is without a vision, without a mission, without processes, and without procedures, andI am advocating that ifthis board can sit down professionally and analyze, learn, and analyze the work that is to be done, we can approach it in a professional manner each time."

The group voted to hash out their issues in a work session next Thursday.

They plan to hire someone to facilitate the discussions and help the board develop a strategy to stay organized.

A week later, the board is scheduled to elect a president and vice president.

Sipe stepped in as acting president at the beginning of the year after several tie votes left the board with no officers.

After meeting behind closed doors for nearly two hours Monday, the board also agreed to issue a censure statement, which said a board member violated executive session policy in January by giving confidential information to a localmedia outlet.

That statementspelled outboard members' obligations to the district's policies and procedures.

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