School board meets for first time since deciding not to buy out Rick Smith's contract

Members of the Hamilton County School Board chat prior to the start of their meeting on Monday, Mar. 7, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The Hamilton County Board of Education met today at 4 p.m. for the first time since voting 5-4 Monday not to buy out the remaining three -and-a-half years of Superintendent Rick Smith's contract.

The school board and Smith discussed next year's budget and zoning changes.

This may have been the first school board meeting of the year where the focus was not about the alleged rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman by three of his basketball teammates and Smith's handling of the situation, as several board members said Monday that they want the district to just look forward.

The board's vote to retain Smith has continued to rile many in the community, who thought the board should have fired him for cause Monday night.

But Smith told reporters Tuesday that he never wanted to stop being superintendent and sees no reason he will leave before his contract expires in the summer of 2019.

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