mccarthy muh pic

POWDERLY, Ky. (2/20/17) — The Muhlenberg County School Board voted 3-2 to not renew Superintendent Randy McCarty’s next two-year contract at its last board meeting. A special called meeting to start a superintendent search process will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21 at Central Office in Powderly.

A notice of the special called meeting includes agenda items to consider using the Kentucky School Board Association to facilitate the superintendent search and approving payment to KSBA for its role.

During the Feb. 16 regular meeting, board member Darrell Bowers of Beechmont made a motion to approve McCarty’s next contract. His motion was seconded by board member Rajiv Johar.

On Monday, Bowers said he made the decision based on what is the best for education for county students and believes overall district scores are good.

“Our test scores are higher than they’ve ever been,” said Bowers. “Our financial situation has greatly improved since he took over. We’re at a better point than we have been in years, and I have a problem seeing why they don’t want to continue with him.”

One of the board members casting a, “Nay,” vote was Shelley Lovell, who was joined by board chairwoman Stephanie Rager and fellow board member Susan Wells.

“I think our district needs strong leadership,” said Lovell Monday. “Our high school has been in ‘Needs Improvement’ status for three years consecutively. This was one thing that was mentioned in the Phase I Empowering Muhlenberg County report that was presented in 2016 — that we need strong leadership to move our district forward.”

Lovell said she is concerned about high school seniors’ readiness to pursue a job or college career.

“We have to continue to move forward,” said Lovell. “Without making changes, I don’t know that we’ll be able to do that.”

Bowers said he agreed that the high school was in a “needs to improve” status, however, he insisted the high school has moved forward and should continue to do so.

“When I started on the board a little over four years ago,” said Bowers, “it was terrible. Since Mr. McCarty has come on, it’s gradually improved. It still needs improvement.”

Bowers said he is still bewildered by the vote.

“I don’t understand what their thinking is,” he said. “Our school system has made leaps and bounds under him. We were at the point of the state taking over. We didn’t have any money to pay the bills.”

Bowers said McCarty and school system treasurer Eric Bletzinger had gotten the system “out of the bottoms” in regard to its financial woes.

McCarty, 61, said Monday he has no plans to retire. The former Muhlenberg South High School principal was at the helm when MSHS merged with Muhlenberg North High School into MCHS. He came into the superintendent’s job in November 2013 assuming the role of former superintendent Dale Todd.

“(Me) and a lot of good people have worked really hard to fix a lot of problems that the district had when I took over,” said McCarty. “We have got the finances back on solid ground and are returning payroll back to staff as soon as possible.”

McCarty said in a recent superintendent’s report, he recommended another 2 percent raise beginning July 1.

McCarty also issued a formal statement regarding his contract not being renewed, which follows:

“I’ve been asked about my reaction to the Muhlenberg County Board of Education’s 3-2 vote not to renew my contract as superintendent.

“The board has to make its decisions as it sees fit. I am grateful that 40 percent of the board members had confidence in the positive changes we made in recent months.

“Our school district faced some challenging financial issues very early in my administration. We sought expert help, developed teamwork strategies, and a strategic plan was developed to face the tough decisions that had to be made to move forward. We are now sound financially. Also, even with all these challenges, our district’s academic scores are currently the highest in the history of Unbridled Learning. That’s a testament to our teachers and staff.

“Ultimately, I am proud of our efforts and the improvements we made during my tenure. I wish the school district all the best and am grateful for the opportunities I had to contribute in Muhlenberg County as a teacher, principal and superintendent. Thanks to everyone, who has contributed to our efforts and provided me assistance and support in performing my duties over the years.”

Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director

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