Bibb school board appoints new interim superintendent
The board named Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gacutan to serve as Interim Superintendent once Dr. Steve Smith retires on December 31. Smith has served as Interim Superintendent since June 3, 2013.
Board members also voted to close the current superintendent search that was led by the Georgia School Boards Association. The board voted to change the way it will conduct superintendent searches in the future to use an independent contractor to lead the process.
Castlin-Gacutan tells 41NBC she is excited to take on the new role.
“It really is about us working together, the school district, the parents, the community, really being able to move things forward in support of our students,” Castlin-Gacutan said. “Obviously our top priority is making sure that our students are getting the very best educational experience that they deserve and that’s what I’m committed to doing.”
Dr. Castlin-Gacutan joined the Bibb County School District in 2012 as the Deputy Superintendent of School Operations. She has more than 20 years of educational experience.
School board member Jason Downey tells 41NBC the district paid $15,000 to the Georgia School Boards Association to find a new superintendent after former superintendent Dr. Romain Dallemand resigned in 2013. Downey says the board spent more than $100,000 to find Dallemand.
Bibb school district spokesperson Stephanie Hartley tells 41NBC the board also voted to open another search for a new superintendent.
Other Actions Taken:
District to purchase Promise Center Building
During the meeting, board members authorized the district to enter into a contract with Central Georgia Partnership for Individual and Community Development to buy the Promise Center located off Anthony Road for $8.5 million. The property will be purchased using funds from the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
Board members Susan Sipe, Lester Miller, and Downey voted against buying the property. In a statement they said the previous school board committed the district to a 10 year lease on the Promise Center that will result in more than $15 million in payments. They also believe there were “serious questions about the validity of the lease between the Board of Education and the former owners” but majority of the board decided to not pursue any legal action. According to the statement, the board members who voted against this action said,
“With the controversy surrounding the failed attempts to obtain a Federal Promise Grant, and the community outcry regarding the initial sale of the property by the previous Board for 220,000 dollars, we could not in good conscience vote to approve the purchase of this property for over 8 million dollars.”
The district plans to house the Career, Technical, and Agricultural Department’s pathways at the Promise Center building in partnership with Central Georgia Technical College. The district recently received a $3.1 million grant from the state, but the district would not be reimbursed for the renovation expenses if it did not own the building.
The board members who voted against the purchase say they stand together with the board in working to make most out of a situation they believe is “not optimal.”
Board approves updates to district’s policies:
Board members also approved updates to all of the district’s policies.