By Elizabeth Gentle – bio | email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) – Several parents are upset that the Huntsville city school system is 20 million dollars in the hole, and can’t agree on when or how to hire a new superintendent.

“It’s like a chess game. They’ve got to find somebody to fit the spot like they want them too. Find the person that is going to help the school and the kids get the education they need,” said Ronnell Palmer, a parent of a student in the school system.

Board members say the process isn’t that simple.

That’s why they asked for input, both online and through 3 separate focus groups, on qualifications and characteristics expected in the new superintendent.

Those findings were shared in a power point presentation during Tuesday nights board meeting.

But when it comes to what taxpayers want in a new superintendent the majority agreed. They want a Person that can manage financial crisis, maintain and raise academic achievement, and rebuild trust and accountability.

Palmer says that’s all well and good, but he says its time to take action.

“20 million dollars in debt and they are going to have to lay off teachers whoever got us in debt lay them off don’t lay the teachers off. When you lay the teachers off our kids suffer,” Palmer continued.

Taxpayer Ralph Shuey says its going to take a strong candidate for superintendent to clean up Huntsville city school’s troubles.

“They need to look at someone with a business background somebody who doesn’t expect money to grow on trees,” said Shuey.

Mayor Tommy Battle told us Tuesday his office has stepped in and hired a financial team to try and pull the struggling school system out of trouble.

Shuey says it may be too late.

“I think they are trying to play catch up ball I think they were looking for the good fairy to come up with 20 million dollars and it ain’t going to happen,” Shuey continued.

Parents and taxpayers are outraged saying the situation should never have gotten this bad.

Board member David Blair says the urgency right now is in hiring a superintendent. They want someone who can turn things around.

“We owe it to the community to do a search. It’s going to be an abbreviated search to put someone quickly in place,” said Blair.

Many thought the board would name an interim superintendent Tuesday night, but that decision did not happen because that person can only handle day-to-day management and not personnel matters.

So, as it stands, Ann Roy Moore remains superintendent. Though she’s not sitting in on meetings to discuss her replacement.

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