Kirk Kelly and Lee McDade to fill role of acting Hamilton Co. schools superintendent

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 Boad of Education voted unanimously in favor of having Kirk Kelly and Lee McDade jointly fill the role of acting schools superintendent until an interim superintendent is named.

Tonight's school board meeting is the first meeting since Superintendent Rick Smith announced Monday that he was leaving his position at the helm, effective immediately.

The school board met today beginning at 4 p.m. for a work session where Assistant Superintendent of Finance Christie Jordan said the proposed budget will ask for additional funding for technology, graduation assistance, priority schools (iZone) and literacy.

Smith decided to step down Monday, after months of turmoil following the rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman, allegedly by three of his basketball teammates.

Smith asked the school board in January to begin negotiating a separation agreement with him, and the board voted 6-3 in favor. Last week, the school board voted 5-4 against the $269,000 proposed buyout, many saying they didn't want to pay Smith taxpayer dollars to leave.

At that meeting, board members told Smith communication needed to improve moving forward. Smith told the Times Free Press last week he planned to remain superintendent and finish out the remaining three-and-a-half years of his contract.

Smith's decision to step down came just a day after the Times Free Press wrote about a report sent by the Tennessee Department of Education to the school system in January criticizing the district's leadership for failing to turn around five of its lowest-performing schools. Smith never gave the school board a copy of the report.

After finding out about the report many school board members said they were frustrated with Smith for not sharing the report. Several board members said if Smith hadn't retired his future would be discussed during tonight's meeting.

In a statement released Monday morning, Smith said he would like to thank students, parents and especially all Hamilton County school employees for their support.

"My family and I wish only the best very for our Hamilton County public school system," Smith said in the statement."