School Board Chairman calls tension “natural”

By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA – It's been one controversy after another for the Muscogee County School Board.

Teacher furloughs and the seemly endless search for a new superintendent. Not to mention the recent battle over the no-bid contract with legal firm Hatcher-Stubbs and ethics complaints filed against Senator Josh McKoon.

But Board Chairman Rob Varner says its politics as usual.

“To the extent that those different points of view cause a few sparks, so what? It's healthy. There is nothing wrong with a board that has some degree of tension,” Varner says.

And during this period of tension, the board is still searching for a new superintendent. NBC 38 asked Varner if he thought the recent negative publicity may be keeping some candidates from applying for the job.

“No, any superintend that you ever speak with, every school board has tension like this. And it's just natural, when you're dealing with children, with education, with taxpayer money, it's almost unavoidable,” Varner says.

The School Board was under fire this week for taking a trip across the country.

“Most of the members of members of the Board of Education are getting ready to take a taxpayer funded vacation to San Diego, California and saying they are going to a National School Board Meeting,” Senator Josh McKoon said at a press conference earlier this week.

Varner, who was one who did not go on the trip, says the trip is an educational experience. But board member Cathy Williams tells NBC 38 she chose not to attend while “teachers are on furloughs.”

The School Board will be reviewing a list of potential finalists for the superintendent position an its executive session on April 22nd.

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