- Associated Press - Saturday, June 4, 2016

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - A committee consisting of community members will help with the Hattiesburg Public School District’s superintendent search.

The president of the district’s board of trustees, Marcus Cathey, said he will release more details about the committee next week.

The Hattiesburg American reports (https://hatne.ws/1Psh1jj ) the last time the board conducted a search for superintendent was in 2010 when it selected James Bacchus. During that process, it brought three candidates to Hattiesburg for a public meeting where they answered questions submitted by residents. Attendees then had the chance to fill out comment forms with feedback on the candidates after the event concluded.

Interim Superintendent Greg Ladner’s six-month term ends June 30. He replaced Bacchus, who resigned in December after telling the board the district’s fund balance had been depleted by an unknown amount.

Board members met Thursday in executive session to interview for a second time a handful of candidates for the superintendent’s job. The board had previously narrowed the applicant pool from 31 to 10. Cathey has not revealed exactly how many applicants are left.

The board is looking for a superintendent who can continue Ladner’s cost-cutting measures, which included laying off 57 employees, instituting a 5 percent salary cut and ordering a hiring and spending freeze. After Ladner came on board, it was determined the district’s fund balance contained only $768,000. Ladner has since said he believes the district will end the fiscal year in the black.

The board has been assisted in its search by the Mississippi School Boards Association, which has solicited and recommended applicants. Cathey has said he hopes to have someone in place by July 1. If that is not possible, Cathey said the association will help the board find a person to take over temporarily for Ladner.

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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