A major change in the leadership of Hamilton County's public schools is ahead after Superintendent Jim Scales announced that he and the school board have agreed to an early buyout of his contract, effective July 1.
Scales came to the county schools leadership post in 2006. His contract was later extended to June 2012. But Scales and the board agreed to a parting of ways at the end of next month, with a payment of at least $202,000.
Scales said he will leave the local school system in an academically stronger position. He had planned major changes to the central office that he suggested would have saved about $700,000 per year.
The schools are a most important part of our community and of county government. Excellent educational opportunities for Hamilton County children surely should be a high priority for all of us, as should be the need to fund those opportunities appropriately.
"Our primary focus needs to be the budget right now," board member Chip Baker said.
In addition to meeting financial challenges in a time of economic crisis, the board now has the challenge of selecting a new superintendent.
We encourage board members to conduct a diligent search. We expect positive results for our schoolchildren, and we offer good wishes to the departing superintendent.