Keyes Board considers dismissing McCullough as Superintendent

Barbalee Blair, Felt Super, will act as interim

by C.F. David

The Keyes School Board met on Friday night, Nov. 1, in a special meeting to consider action against their school superintendent, Ricky McCullough. The meeting was the second in less than a month. The board first met on Oct. 23, and entered Executive Session, upon coming out, Board President Ernest Eslinger read a statement that the board would discuss and vote on notifying McCullough of his employment status.

Board Member J.C. Moser made the motion, seconded by Debra Copeland to suspend McCullough from all his duties and to notify him of the suspension; it passed unanimously.

Moser, then made a motion, seconded by Debra Cobb to direct the school's attorneys to investigate McCullough's employment activities, the vote was again unanimous.

On Nov. 1 the board met again and went into Executive Session; on exiting Eslinger read and the board discussed notifying McCullough of his possible dismissal, and his right to a hearing before the board prior to dismissal.

Moser made the motion and Copeland seconded that McCullough be so notified of his potential dismissal on reasons alleged in Executive Session. Cobb was absent, the motion passed three, zero.

Moser then made a motion and Copeland seconded that McCullough remain on suspension with pay pending final action.

Copeland then made a motion and Moser seconded to appoint Barbalee Blair, of Felt as interim in McCullough's place. Blair is the superintendent of the Felt Schools.

The Boise City News attempted to contact McCullough, but he has left Cimarron County , efforts to contact him elsewhere were unsuccessful.

Contacted by The Boise City News, Blair said that her main concerns were the school's budget and the reports required by the state each month.

Keyes is second school McCullough forced to leave

Keyes is the second school McCullough has been forced to leave. He arrived in Keyes midsummer from Balko, in Beaver County .

Balko Board Vice-President James Trentham, when contacted by The Boise City News said that McCullough had resigned after a January, 2006 school board meeting.

Asked if there had been a problem, Trentham said, “The board just lost confidence in him.”

Balko was McCullough's first job as a Superintendent. A job he resigned from under pressure in January, 2006.

According to school board minutes obtained by The Boise City News, McCullough seemed to be in trouble by early December; on Dec. 7, the Balko Board went into Executive Session to discuss and possibly take action on McCullough's evaluation.

On Jan. 9, Balko Board member Mark Frantz again made the motion to go into Executive Session to discuss the evaluation and to make a decision on rehiring McCullough for 2006-07. Upon coming out, the board voted to table discussion on rehiring McCullough

On Jan. 18, in a special meeting, the board was addressed by two individuals, Dale Cook and Dale Bennett speaking on McCullough's behalf.

Contacted by The Boise City News, Cook said that he and most of the Balko Community was bewildered by the boards attempts to force McCullough out.

“We got up a petition. It was a surprise to the community, and we all asked questions. I didn't get any response (to questions).” Cook said. “I first met him last [2005] summer. He was in my Sunday School Class seemed like a good guy. I spoke in his behalf. He's got a recommendation from me and I stand behind it. If there's something bad wrong, I want to know what it is, and I want my letter (of recommendation) back,” Cook explained.

Dale Bennett said the board wouldn't make public why they were refusing to rehire McCullough.

“I told them they needed to make that public knowledge,” Bennett said. “Some of them on the board was friends, all they'd say was, “We are not at liberty to say. My only dealings with Rick was at school. He was a nice enough guy,” Bennett added.

In any case a note was made in the meeting's minutes that McCullough did not submit a resignation, and Frantz made a motion not to renew the contract, Trentham seconded and the vote was unanimous.

In another special meeting on Jan. 26, Trentham made a motion to rescinding the board's action not to renew, Frantz seconded, and the board voted aye to rescind. The next item on the agenda was to accept McCullough's resignation. The motion was made by Frantz and seconded by Tranthem, the board voted unanimously for accepting the resignation.

Boise City News
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Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
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