Update: Bay school board rescinds plan to buy superintendent a house

BAY, AR (KAIT) - After parents protested a decision to purchase the superintendent a home, the Bay School Board withdrew the motion.

At the board's regular monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 9, Superintendent Chip Layne issued the following statement:

To make it official and to follow up the text I sent you on August 14, I respectfully decline any housing benefit that might be offered to me now and in the future.  You have received the email from Marshall Hughes regarding the questions you wanted asked about finance.  I believe it is something that the board should always consider in the future for other administrators that may come along in the district, it is absolutely a sound idea and one that is not uncommon, however in light of the events that have taken place, it is better for the school/its students/myself/and my family to not have any further dealings with the idea.  I am recommending to you that you rescind the motion you made at the August board meeting and discuss it as you see fit in the future as long as it does not include me in the discussion.  If you rescind the motion, we should all consider the matter closed.

Afterward a motion was made to rescind the August motion to purchase a house.  The vote passed 5-0.

The decision came after several picketers lined up across the street from the Bay campus last month following the school board's decision to purchase Layne a home.

"It's the wrong idea. Instead of spending that kind of money on a house for a superintendent we need to take that money and put it back into the programs that the school has already decided to cut, Gifted and Talented programs and different things like that," said Jeff Weir, father of three Bay School District students.

In August Dean of Students Brad Brannen said people have misconceptions about the board's decision and school programs.

"We haven't cut GT. GT is still here. That's still part of the school and the way they're going about doing it is a little bit different," he said.

"(The house) was going to be a recruiting tool for the future, but just to put it out there, as of last night Mr. Layne told the board 'No.'"

Superintendent Chip Layne said he sent a text message to school board members at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 14, to let them know he is not interested in the school district providing housing for him.

Layne said he cares more about his family and students than getting a house from the district. "It's a dead issue for me," he said.

Revisiting the plan to house the Bay School District superintendent is a decision for school board members.

Weir says he hopes the board will "listen to the people that voted them into their positions and spend our money wisely."

"I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea to be able to use (a house) as a recruitment tool, but now is not a good time to do that," Weir said.

Weir said the protest was a first step in parents becoming more involved in the decisions administrators want to make for students.

"We want to really take back our school district. We kind of as a community have failed our school and our children by not being involved."

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