Hearing officer hired in Prentiss schools case

county_prentiss_greenBy Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

BOONEVILLE – A Booneville attorney has been appointed to serve as hearing officer for a Prentiss County school district hearing over the non-renewal of the New Site principal’s contract.

Daniel Tucker was appointed to serve as hearing officer, along with a court reporter, by the school board last week, said board attorney Allison Worley.

He will hear the case of Ronald Clark, New Site principal for the past year, whose contract was not renewed for 2014-2015.

The school board voted 3-2 on Feb. 26, to not renew Clark’s contract as principal unless he passes the state administrator certification exam before the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

Clark has taken the exam previously but did not pass all parts, and is taking a class to prepare for a retake of the exam.

Clark requested the hearing during the March 17 school board meeting, and Worley said he has not indicated if he wants the hearing to be in closed session or open.

The hearing officer will make a recommendation to the board after the hearing, which the board may act on or not. However, the statute does not indicate a time frame in which the hearing officer’s report must be made, Worley said.

Clark, who has been a longtime coach, teacher and assistant principal in the school district, was accompanied by a group of more than two dozen supporters at the March 17 meeting.

Superintendent Randle Downs has supported Clark’s reappointment, noting the emergency certification he has from the state is good for three years.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com