"A national search all starts with whether the Legislature is going to accommodate us. You can only imagine the names of the people who have been involved in education and don't qualify because of the statute. It's inappropriate and wrong for the board to be limited that way," said board member Lloyd Jackson. "If the Legislature refuses to make those changes, then we're limited and it's a different search than if they allow us to move forward in a broader-based way."
Jackson also suggested that the board hire an outside firm to help conduct the search for a new superintendent, but some board members worried about the added cost.
Money would have to come out of the Department of Education budget to hire an outside firm, which could cost between $70,000 and $100,000, said board member Priscilla Haden.
"I am definitely for a national search, but I'm concerned about the money. We're robbing Peter to pay Paul, in a sense," Haden said.
If the Legislature does not choose to amend current state code, it could have an impact on how the search is conducted, board members said.
"It blows my mind that all of those things are in code. It's time to get these things right. If we're going to stop being the status-quo state, we have to apply common sense and that means flexibility," said Michael Green. "We've got to stand up and say we need the flexibility to find the best person possible."
"Are you sure you want to invest tens of thousands in such a narrow search?" Jackson asked the board. "It comes down to whether or not people want to see the board make some changes or stay in the same boat we're in."
Haden said she had asked three people if they would be interested in serving the "temporary" role -- Kanawha County Superintendent Ron Duerring, Monongalia County Superintendent Frank Devono and Wood County Superintendent Patrick Law.
All three declined, she said -- some pointing to the controversial timing. The board has been under fire since Marple's termination, and a pending Supreme Court petition alleges that the board fired her unlawfully.
Gayle Manchin said at Wednesday's meeting that she was under the assumption that whoever was taking the temporary role would not be taking the position on permanently. Linger reassured that the "fill-in" superintendent can still qualify for the permanent position.
Phares said while he will not completely rule out the possibility of becoming a more permanent superintendent, it is not an immediate goal of his. He will be sworn in Jan. 2.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.