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The Concordia Parish School Board voted last week to hire Superintendent Whest Shirley on a month-to-month basis beginning January 1, 2021, while specifying again that Shirley’s present contract would be terminated on December 31, 2020.

The decision came despite multiple requests from individuals and groups across the parish that urged the board at its October meeting to extend Shirley’s contract through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

At the board meeting last week, Bill McDonough of Vidalia praised Shirley’s work for the parish school system and urged the board to extend his contract.

Although the board’s vote last week was unanimous, the vote at the October meeting was 5-4 against extending the contract. At that time, Dorothy Parker, Derrick Carson, board president Fred Butcher, Raymond Riley and Angela Hayes voted against the extension while Warren Enterkin, John Bostic, Ricky Raven and Lisette Forman voting for the extension.

The board is expected to begin advertising for a new superintendent in the coming months, but the board’s resolution approved last week prohibits Shirley from applying.

Despite repeated requests from the public for the board to explain its reasoning for not renewing Shirley’s contract, no explanation was forthcoming at the Nov. 12 meeting. Butcher said previously that because it is a personnel matter board members cannot comment.

Riley offered the motion to terminate Shirley’s contract, hire him on a month-to-month basis beginning Jan. 1 and to prohibit him for applying for the post again during the next hiring phase.

Bostic seconded the motion.

All nine members supported the resolution.

The vote came after an executive session.

The board asked its attorney, Jon Guice, to draw up a contract for Shirley that includes the provision that he can not apply for the replacement position.

The 53-year-old Shirley has worked for three decades in education and is beginning his 26th year working in the parish school system.

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