Cooper: Smith's exit leaves clean slate

Superintendent Rick Smith signs some paperwork before a Hamilton County school board meeting in February.

With Superintendent Rick Smith's announced retirement Monday, the Hamilton County Schools system now has a clean white board on which to work.

The superintendent, days after saying he was ready to fulfill his contract that runs through 2019, stepped down the morning after the Times Free Press published results of a bruising Tennessee Department of Education response to the district's plans to remedy its priority schools.

The state's response noted the district's plans for the current school year "lacked a comprehensive approach" and said its restructuring proposals for the 2016-17 year left "the review team with great pause."

Smith alone, as noted in this space before, is not responsible for the poor achievement test scores and progress for the priority schools.