Decision looms today over superintendent's future

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith signs some paperwork at a school board meeting in February when board members discussed options for an interim superintendent.

The Hamilton County Board of Education remains divided on tonight's vote regarding Superintendent Rick Smith's future.

The nine-member board is expected to vote whether to keep Smith as the leader of Hamilton County schools, fire him or agree to the buyout he's proposed.

School board Chairman Jonathan Welch hopes the board will arrive at an agreement, whatever the outcome.

"We have to come to some type of resolution so we can move forward," Welch said.

But getting five votes for any decision will not be easy. At least two board members are adamantly against a buyout, others say they will vote for it and some believe Smith should stay on as superintendent.

Since the Dec. 22 rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman, allegedly by three of his basketball teammates, Smith has been deluged with criticism from the public and some board members for his handling of the situation.