MPS to Reorganize Central Office

MPS to Reorganize Central Office

Dr. Sam Thompson with the group, Concerned Citizens for Lauderdale County, says there is concern about the recent non-renewal of deputy superintendent Robert Markham for the next school year.

"I think basically the school board is out of control," said Dr. Sam Thompson.

Recently, the Meridian School Board approved a proposal by school superintendent Sylvia Autry to discontinue the district's deputy superintendent for operations position.

Autry, who plans to retire next year, says the decision to discontinue the position is part of her ongoing effort to streamline things within the district.

"If you look at running a huge organization, we've got 1,000 employees and plugging in positions so that they can be most effective," said Autry.

"This is not about her streamlining anything for the next superintendent," said Thompson. "It's about basically doing what the board wants. It's just a history of things happening all along. I don't think that we can just call it racism because there are whites as well being affected."

Markham has worked with the Meridian Public School District for 40 years. He has now requested a special hearing in hopes of getting the position and his job reinstated.

Autry says often for this type of hearing, a hearing officer from another area is brought in to hear the employee's case. During that hearing she says testimony is given, and at the end the person or persons hearing the case decide what should ultimately happen in the matter.

"We're going to do whatever we have to do to make sure that this school board and superintendent understand that we're no longer going to sit by and allow business as usual," Thompson said.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Leslie Location: Meridian on May 27, 2007 at 07:58 PM
    I am disappointed that the newspaper failed to cover anything controversial at all concerning MPSD. Nothing commented on here was touched except Markham was briefly mentioned. Oh well, let's not give in.
  • by Judy Location: Meridian on May 27, 2007 at 04:16 PM
    While there have always been school-related problems, in my 67 years, 31 as a teacher, I have never heard anything like this. We must ask the person at the helm to step down. It is obviously time for a positive change. Teachers who are stressed out, overused, and unappreciated cannot be expected to remain at their best. Research proves that stress and abuse leads to health problems. That is expecting too much. Teachers need support and praise from those in command. It is the hardest job in the world (opinion) without administrators putting them down and mistreating them. Show and tell them that you care and that you are proud of them. Mrs. Autry's actions are inappropriate and unsatisfactory. She has failed as a leader and should move on before making things worse. Teachers should not work in fear, they get enough of that with rough children. They also get "thank-you's" and love from the children they are working to reach and transform into good citizens.
  • by Lordy Mercy Location: Meridian on May 27, 2007 at 04:02 PM
    What? How in the world is a child expected to learn in a class with a constant turn over of teachers! Several teachers left one classroom in a row? In one year? WHY?That sounds like a BIG problem to me. We need the BEST we can get for our children. Teachers put up with a lot and do not generally walk away. Were they fired? What? Something is not working here! Autry, speak.
  • by Teachers' friend Location: Meridian on May 27, 2007 at 03:52 PM
    I heard from a couple of teachers about the blow up Autry had at Oakland Elementary last year. I can't believe they were able to keep it out of the papers. I did not see any of the REAL concerns addressed by Autry or the board in today's paper. The way I see it, it will all blow over and the Autry agenda will remain in place. The board made it clear that Autry did all of this on her own. Carver was a top level, nationally recognized school when Markham was there. With Autry pulling stunts like this, MPSD may never have a positively recognized school again. For example, she says she supports the arts, yet gets rid of the music and art teachers in more of the elementary schools, where they need it most! Then there is the concerns everyone else is talking about. We see what she is doing. Let's hold her accountable.
  • by Concerned Location: Meridian on May 27, 2007 at 03:21 PM
    Lets try to keep Oakland Heights out of this. What is happening now has NOTHING to do with what may or may not have ever happened at "OH." Keep the focus on the issues. Stop changing the subject. This is about trying to REORGANIZE the central office, not what somebody may think that they may have overheard or dreamed. I doubt any of that happened or we would have all heard about it. Grow up!
  • by Parent Location: Meridian on May 27, 2007 at 02:12 PM
    It was a rough year for my daughter at OH last year. She had one teacher after another in her classroom. They did not stay long. She finally got a good teacher but he left too I guess. I hoped to have him for my son next year because he was good. We had meetings with him and another female teacher but she is gone too. They called and kept us updated last year. Is this something Mrs Autry did? I'm not happy with OH this year. I have two children still there. I read a lot about that situation, but one of these teachers was black and the other was white. What happened? I was told they just left. Thats a lot of teachers in two classrooms.
  • by Lucy Location: County on May 27, 2007 at 01:59 PM
    Key in "Markham" in the WTOK search engine, click on the first several articles that come up and read the comments! I now question everything Autry has done while employed with MPSD! If my printer worked, I'd print them all and mail it to the central office for Autry to read. It seems that Markham is just a drop in the bucket! I hope to hear her side of these issues, not just the school bond issue. She is stearing clear of all this and getting away with it. AND we pay her to do this stuff? I don't think so!
  • by Smoky Haze Location: Local on May 27, 2007 at 01:51 PM
    Autry is like this smoky haze lingering around. We don't want it, but it won't go away. It makes people miserable and stinks, but we can't change it. It burns your eyes and throat, but you can't help but breathe it in and see it everywhere.
  • by Same old story! on May 27, 2007 at 01:47 PM
    This story is a month old and still around! SYLVIA will you just GO AWAY! You have been hurting and snooting people for years and need to step down so that the schools may begin to progress. GO away, then look back a few years from now and see what could have been but that you disallow - progress. Now, people even say they are leaving town rather than to deal with Autry. That's too much!
  • by Ronanda Location: Meridian on May 27, 2007 at 01:41 PM
    I would like to have seen some questions from citizens and teachers put to Sylvia in the paper. There is more at stake here than an insignificantly small group of misdirected people with inaccurate information. I would like to ask WTOK to have a sit down with Autry. I feel that the newspaper may be biased in her favor, but that is just my opinion. They avoided all controversy. Ask about what she did and said to black teachers and assistants at Oakland Heights last year. All is not well and will not be well as long as she remains as superintendent. Everyone asks about her credentials or qualifications, still nobody seems to know what they may be. Does the school board know this information? Many here have questions and concerns but few answers!
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